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Accountability of Philanthropic Foundations: Interviewing Private and Powerful Givers About Their Responsibilities

Case
By: Alexandra Williamson, Belinda Luke & Craig Furneaux Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

This research explored perspectives on the accountability of Private Ancillary Funds, a type of Australian endowed philanthropic foundation and was undertaken as part of a Masters by Research. With limited regulatory obligations and public reporting exemptions available, Private Ancillary Funds have discretion in various forms of public accountability. Ten in-depth interviews were undertaken with managers and trustees of Private Ancillary Funds, revealing that Private Ancillary Funds engage in accountability primarily for internal reasons relating to their mission and purpose, and their desire to lead others in philanthropy. This case study explores the processes of participant recruitment, data collection using semi-structured interviews, and analysis of interview transcripts using NVivo software. Reflective views on the challenges, highlights, and practicalities of interviewing notoriously private and difficult-to-reach philanthropists are offered.

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