Roles of local foundations in German community-based initiatives: Devolving criticism of philanthropy to the local?




philanthropic foundations, institutional roles, community education, community development, administrative policy


This article explores perceptions of local philanthropic foundations situated in community-based initiative (CBI) policies that aim to achieve educational goals through the establishment of collaborative connections between schools and multiple local actors. Although roles of philanthropy in public education are controversial, scholars have yet to rigorously consider the specific local context of CBIs. We aim to help fill this research gap by investigating the main collective orientations that underlie actions of local foundations in German CBIs. Based on semi-structured interviews with chairpersons in a south German municipality, we examine patterns of experience and attitude through application of the documentary method. The reconstructed collective orientations allow for the identification of four primary roles of philanthropy in CBIs. Notably, the addition of an advocacy role relocates a phenomenon that was previously identified as a disruptive element at a (supra-)national level. These roles suggest potential for philanthropy to engage in local education policy-making. As such, they pose pressing questions that need to be addressed by public authorities and regulators.



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Author Biographies

Franz Koranyi, Freie Universität Berlin

Franz Koranyi is a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute of Educational Research and Social Systems at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. His research interests encompass: Extended education, out-of-school learning, non-profit organizations & third sector in education, and educational administration policy. Franz earned a M.A. in Civil Society, NGO and Nonprofit Studies from University of Kent, UK and a B.A. in Public Management & Governance from Zeppelin University, Germany.

Nina Kolleck, RWTH Aachen University

Nina Kolleck is Professor at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany. There she heads the Institute of Education and Heterogeneity and conducts research projects dealing with topics around inclusion, heterogeneity, educational networks and collaboration, reforms and innovations, educational governance, trust, motivation, sustainable development and quantitative as well as qualitative Social Network Analysis. Her academic career included research stays at the University of California, Berkeley, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, University of Caen and the University Politecnica Salesiana in Quito. Having gained third party funding and scholarships from different institutions and funders she currently holds grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG) as well as the Mercator Foundation, the German Ministry of Education and Research and the Max Planck Society. For her research collaboration with Miri Yemini she has been awarded with ARCHES (Award for Research Cooperation and High Excellence in Science).





How to Cite

Koranyi, F., & Kolleck, N. (2018). Roles of local foundations in German community-based initiatives: Devolving criticism of philanthropy to the local?. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 139.