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Tris Lumley (NPC) – Open Philanthropy


On this episode, as part of our occasional mini-series with NPC, we talk to Tris Lumley about open philanthropy: what it is, why it is important, and how we make it happen.


  • What is NPC’s Open Philanthropy project? How did it come about?
  • How has NPC been putting some of its thinking about open philanthropy into practice?
  • What is the difference between “outward openness” and “inward openness” in philanthropy?
  • Do foundations (and donors) need to be more transparent?
  • If so, why? (Is this primarily about making philanthropy more legitimate, or more effective/efficient?)
  • What do they need to be open about? (e.g. income, spending, diversity of staff/trustees, how decisions are made etc).
  • How can we make use of open data in philanthropy?
  • Why might some funders be reluctant to be more open? Is this ever justified?
  • Does philanthropy need to get better at valuing different forms of knowledge?
  •  How do you balance the value of experience and the value of expertise?
  • Are there challenges for traditional grantmakers when it comes to bringing communities and people with lived experience into decision making processes?
  • What does the focus on inclusion mean for our approaches to measurement?
  • How important is core-cost and multi-year funding when it comes to making philanthropy more inwardly open?
  • Is trust-based philanthropy more open (i.e. because it asks less of grantees in terms of reporting etc), or more closed (i.e. because it relies on developing trusting relationships and can therefore become cliquey)?

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