Foundation-sponsored networks: Brokerage roles of higher education intermediary organizations


  • Nabih Haddad University of Michigan-Ann Arbor



philanthropic foundations, higher education, knowledge brokers, higher education policy, social network analysis


Philanthropic foundations are influential policy entrepreneurs in higher education, advocating new ideas, engaging in collaborative activities, and seeding research to inform the decision-making process. Despite occupying this role, the higher education literature has yet to examine how philanthropic foundations promote ideas between entities or how shared granting relationships are used to distribute and exchange information. By utilizing several sources of data, including in-depth interviews and an original dataset of postsecondary grants, and by applying social network concepts, this study explores the strategies educational funders use to disseminate ideas and promote information exchange. This study found that major foundations are not only taking on an advocacy-oriented role within their communication strategies, but they are also facilitating information sharing among intermediaries based on mutual granting relationships and shared agendas. Furthermore, the most impactful grantees are those who cross sectoral boundaries, such as advocacy nonprofits, think tanks, membership associations, and government agencies.


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Author Biography

Nabih Haddad, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Nabih Haddad is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

His research interests include higher education policy, educational philanthropy, and college completion. He has worked on projects which examined the intersections of philanthropic foundations and non-profits, the role of funders in academic labor markets, and the relationship between intermediary entities and educational systems.





How to Cite

Haddad, N. (2020). Foundation-sponsored networks: Brokerage roles of higher education intermediary organizations. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 122.



Researching 21st Century Education Policy Through Social Network Analysis