Challenges in Corporate Foundation Governance

  • David RenzEmail author
  • Lonneke Roza
  • Frans-Joseph Simons
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)


This chapter focuses on the challenges experienced by those who govern corporate foundations. Based on three key theoretical perspectives (agency theory, resource dependency theory, and institutional theory) and insights drawn from interviews and informal conversations with leaders and decision-makers in more than a dozen corporate foundations in the United States and the Netherlands, we offer a theory-based framework in which the most common governance conditions and dynamics are identified. The framework defines three questions posing key challenges, based on 11 correlated tensions in hybrid organizations: (1) Why do corporate foundations exist and to what end? (2) Who really governs a corporate foundation and with what orientation? (3) To whom are corporate foundations accountable and for what? The chapter demonstrates that, although corporate foundations are subject to multiple and divergent logics posing tensions and challenges, the dynamics experienced vary by the type of corporation and are not always considered as problematic, relative to the way they are experienced as problematic by other types of hybrids (e.g., social entrepreneurs). Notwithstanding that there is always a tango between the corporate foundation and both community and corporate stakeholders.


Corporate foundations Governance Comparative Challenges Hybrid organizations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, University of Missouri-Kansas CityKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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