Like the rest of us, foundations don't like to admit mistakes and they like even less to publicize their failures. On the surface, however, there appears to be little reason for foundation reticence about communicating and explaining failure. No matter how philanthropic decisions turn out, the huge endowments of foundations provide an impenetrable shield that allows these privileged institutions to roll along quietly and securely in virtual perpetuity. Nor would foundation's "customers" be easily put off by an occasional gaffe. At most large foundations, the mailbag is always full of new proposals, and a long line of grant applicants is delighted to accept foundation largesse regardless of how well or poorly a foundation has performed in the past.