Foundations and Public Policy

The Mask of Pluralism

By Joan Roelofs

Subjects: Political Science
Series: SUNY series in Radical Social and Political Theory
Paperback : 9780791456422, 281 pages, January 2003
Hardcover : 9780791456415, 281 pages, January 2003

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Table of contents



1. Introduction

2. What Are Foundations?

3. Ideology and Information

4. Reforming Government

5. Market Supplement: Arts and Culture

6. Market Supplement: Social Welfare and the Economy

7. Foundations and the Legal System

8. Social Change Organizations

9. International Activities

10. Conclusions and Questions for Further Research

Appendix A. Inquiry Letter for Haymarket Research
Appendix B. Haymarket Research Questionnaire
Appendix C. Selected Groups Funded by Haymarket 1974–1978


Select Bibliography


Documents how even progressive foundations serve to reinforce the political status quo.


In this pathbreaking study of foundation influence, author Joan Roelofs produces a comprehensive picture of philanthropy's critical role in society. She shows how a vast number of policy innovations have arisen from the most important foundations, lessening the destructive impact of global "marketization. " Conversely, groups and movements that might challenge the status quo are nudged into line with grants and technical assistance, and foundations also have considerable power to shape such things as public opinion, higher education, and elite ideology. The cumulative effect is that foundations, despite their progressive goals, have a depoliticizing effect, one that preserves the hegemony of neoliberal institutions.

Joan Roelofs is Professor of Political Science at Keene State College. She is the author of Greening Cities: Building Just and Sustainable Communities.