Foundations in Sweden – Their Scope, Roles and Visions

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By Filip Wijkström and Stefan Einarsson 2004

This report is the first more extensive text published in a larger research project on foundations and their roles in society. This particular text has a focus on the roles and visions of Swedish foundations, but also includes completely new material on the size and structure of the foundation sector. The report is publish­ed as part of a wider research program on civil society and its organisations developed at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden.
The spaces and positions allotted to or taken by foundations in Sweden are analysed and discussed. An important finding is that foundations in Sweden – as a group or a population – have assumed different roles in different periods. Over the centuries, there also seems to be a steady influx of new foundations equipped with new and different missions – keeping the foundation population as a whole dynamic and flexible.
A couple of foundation fields are worth to highlight in particular. Today, the large group of research foundations are potential sources for new and interesting research. At the same time these foundations might be important change agents in the current re-formulation of academic life in Sweden. Also the large amount of foundations engaged in various social issues represent an earlier often invisible and unseen pool of resources.
In conclusion, the rich and complex population of foundations in contemporary Sweden can be seen as a new and challenging field for further research and analysis.

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