Gates Foundation and the lack of transparency

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has taken another step toward increased transparency, acknowledging in its annual report that the world's largest charitable foundation is too secretive and hard to work with.

The report, posted online Tuesday, includes the usual financial information and a look at the foundation's plans. But it also offers a glimpse of the organization's attempts to be more open.

CEO Jeff Raikes draws attention in the report to a grantee survey that gave the foundation poor marks for communicating its goals and strategies and for confusing people with its complicated grant-making process.

Pablo Eisenberg of Georgetown University's Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership said the foundation has a moral obligation to share its decision-making process more broadly as it distributes what is partly taxpayer dollars they saved on taxes by giving the money away.

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"There's no substitute for other points of view and perspectives around the table when a so-called board is about to make a decision on priorities and programs affecting $3 billion a year or more," Mr. Eisenberg said.


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