Bigger foundations farm out research

To inform their grantmaking, larger foundations prefer to pay outside researchers rather than hire internal research staff, a new survey says.

The Argosy Foundation surveyed large private grantmaking foundations that awarded $10 million or more in grants in 2005 or 2006.

More than half the foundations responding to the survey said they do fund outside researchers, and most of the foundations employing outside researchers said they use the results to inform their own work.

Fewer than two in 10 foundations that responded employ staff who spend the majority of their time conducting research, with very large foundations more likely than large and medium foundations to have at least one staff member for research, the survey says.

The survey also asked respondents which foundations they believed produce “excellent” research.

Those most often commended by their peers were the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Lumina Foundation

The Argosy Foundation is a family foundation established in 1997 by John Abele, co-founder of Boston Scientific.

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