A provocative new study concludes that foundations and foundation grantmaking is highly influenced by the government, elite universities, and think tanks. The result of these external influences is that foundations prefer making grants to organizations perceived as “legitimate” by these influences.

By analyzing peace grants awarded by U.S. foundations between 1988-1996, Sada Aksartova, a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at Princeton University, found that “legitimacy concerns...

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