Supporting social inclusion through partnerships with civil society is the focus of this fourth Foundation paper. It draws largely on research carried out by the Foundation in this area over the past decade. This paper outlines the strategic and practical importance of civil society in supporting social inclusion. It looks at the role of partnerships in this area, for example between social partners and public authorities at local and regional level, and it proposes guidelines to assist policymakers in strengthening the role of civil society. Foundation papers aim to highlight knowledge and analysis emanating from the Foundations research themes: employment, equal opportunities, social inclusion, time use and diversity. The objective of the papers is to make past, present and future work of the Foundation relevant and accessible in a synthesised format. The subject of each paper will be linked to current social policy issues and offers therefore a timely contribution to the debate at European level.