Room to Flourish: Lessons for Canadian Grantmaking Foundations from Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands


  • Nazita Lajevardi Uppsala University
  • Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell UCSD
  • James Stauch Mount Royal
  • Nicole Rigillo McGill University



Grantmaking foundations, Philanthropic foundations, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, International comparisons, Social origins theory / Fondations subventionnaires, Fondations philanthropiques, Suède, Allemagne, Pays-Bas, Comparaisons internationales,


While Canada has experienced a long and successful history of encouraging social participation and community activity through its grantmaking foundation sector, this article argues that Canada’s historic and present-day regulatory restrictions have limited the extent to which its foundation sector has been allowed to innovate and flourish. To exemplify the types of tractable regulatory schemes that have allowed grantmaking foundation sectors in comparative contexts to prosper, the evolution of the grantmaking foundation sectors in Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands is examined within the context of social origins theory. One important contribution of this article is to compare their regulatory frameworks to the Canadian context. It concludes with lessons learned for the Canadian grantmaking foundation sector and for public officials to consider.

Bien que le secteur des fondations subventionnaires au Canada ait connu une longue histoire de réussites dans l’encouragement de la participation sociale et de l’activité communautaire, cet article soutient qu’une réglementation restrictive autant dans le passé qu’au présent a limité l’innovation et l’épanouissement dans le secteur. Afin de montrer comment une réglementation plus souple pourrait permettre aux fondations canadiennes de prospérer davantage, cet article recourt à la théorie des origines sociales pour examiner le secteur en Suède, en Allemagne et aux Pays-Bas. Une contribution importante de cet article consiste ainsi à comparer les contextes réglementaires dans ces pays à celui du Canada. En conclusion, il fait des recommandations pour les fondations subventionnaires et le secteur public canadiens.


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Author Biography

Nazita Lajevardi, Uppsala University

Nazita Lajevardi is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Uppsala University in the Department of Government. She works on issues of race, representation, inequality, and advocacy.


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