The Importance of Archiving for Foundations

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<p>A foundation’s archives preserve records of programs, activities, products, governance, people, and history that may hold enduring value—whether cultural, historical, or institutional. But even among large foundations, only about 20 percent maintain archives. </p><p>In his <a href="/publications/publication/2012/dec/archives-us-foundations-endangered-species">new essay</a>, John E. Craig, Jr., reports on the current status of archiving in the foundation sector and recommends ways to improve policies and practices in an area that is too often overlooked. Craig, The Commonwealth Fund’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, draws from 2012 survey data on the 300 largest U.S. foundations. </p>
<p>Ideally, an archive should be part of a comprehensive records management program consisting of a records policy, a short-term records retention schedule, and a collection policy, Craig says. Most foundations, he notes, will not find it feasible to maintain archives in-house and instead encourages outsourcing that function to existing archive centers. He also recommends that groups of foundations with common interests and archiving objectives consider forming regional archival cooperatives geared to taking full advantage of modern information management technology. </p>
<p>Visit to read the complete essay, <a href="/publications/publication/2012/dec/archives-us-foundations-endangered-species">The Archives of U.S. Foundations: An Endangered Species</a>. </p>
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