Nonprofit Organizations’ Views on Corporate Foundations

  • Sterre Swen
  • Lonneke Roza
  • Lucas Meijs
  • Alexander Maas
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)


The aim of this chapter is to provide a deeper understanding of how nonprofit organizations view their collaborations with corporate foundations. The views of nonprofit organizations presented in this chapter explain nonprofit organizations’ current practices in engaging in these collaborations, including the associated (social) benefits and challenges. The exploratory study was based on 23 semi-structured interviews with nonprofit employees, corporate foundations, and experts in the field conducted between October 2016 and March 2017. The results indicate that employees of nonprofits use three different views for corporate foundations. They consider corporate foundations as (1) moral agents of their founding firms, in which case the foundations hold resources that the nonprofits need in order to do their job as experts in addressing social issues; (2) they regard corporate foundations as instrumental agents of companies, where collaborations should create a win-win situation for the founding firm of the foundation as well as for the nonprofit organization; and (3) nonprofits see corporate foundations as change agents of their parent companies, in which corporate foundations actively work together with nonprofits to tackle social issues. The results further imply that it is difficult to describe one typical corporate foundation (as with the chapter of Bethmann and von Schnurbein), and working with them as nonprofits requires a flexible view on what a corporate foundation may entail, their focus, and their goals and should adapt their practices accordingly.


Nonprofit organizations Corporate foundations Nonprofit business collaboration Qualitative research 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sterre Swen
    • 1
  • Lonneke Roza
    • 1
  • Lucas Meijs
    • 1
  • Alexander Maas
    • 2
  1. 1.Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University for HumanisticsUtrechtThe Netherlands

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