The role of foundations in shaping social welfare policy and services: The case of welfare reform

Jennifer E. Mosley, Joseph Galaskiewicz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Foundations play a key but often overlooked role in influencing and implementing social welfare policy. They shape knowledge and preferences for policy solutions by funding specific kinds of research, driving community development initiatives, and supporting selected forms of social services. Strategic involvement and monitoring of public policy debates and thoughtful responses to policy changes are crucial for them to meet their goals in a changing environment. This is especially important in areas of social welfare in which government is heavily involved. In this chapter we use the case of the 1996 welfare reform legislation to explore the charitable (that is, giving to those in need) and philanthropic (that is, giving to spur innovation and social change) orientations of foundations before, during, and after this major policy change. Comparing how foundations adopted these two roles also sheds light on how foundations leverage their comparative advantages as social entrepreneurs, institution builders, mediators, and risk absorbers in the field of social welfare.1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Foundations
Subtitle of host publicationRoles and Contributions
PublisherBrookings Institution Press
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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