Latest Entries
Why Ford’s $1 Billion Commitment to Mission-Related Investments is a Big Deal–and a Risky One
From the Editors / Philanthropy in the News

Why Ford’s $1 Billion Commitment to Mission-Related Investments is a Big Deal–and a Risky One

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis weighs in on the Ford Foundation’s announcement that it will commit $1 billion over the next decade to mission-related investments. Today, the Ford Foundation announced that, over the next decade, it would direct $1 billion dollars from its $12 billion endowment to mission-related investments (MRI). As the foundation explains, … Continue reading

Gunnar Myrdal in the Latest Issue of HUMANITY
Philanthropy and Inequality

Gunnar Myrdal in the Latest Issue of HUMANITY

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey discusses the Gunnar Myrdal symposium in the latest issue of Humanity, and explains its relevance for scholars and practitioners of philanthropy. Americans generally remember Gunnar Myrdal (1898-1987) as the astute Swedish observer of American race relations who authored the monumental study of black Americans that had been commissioned and funded by Carnegie Corporation of … Continue reading

Can Endowments Save Higher Education?
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Education

Can Endowments Save Higher Education?

Editors’ Note: In response to the recently-released annual survey of 805 college and university endowment returns and the Trump administration’s proposed “skinny budget,” Christopher P. Loss analyzes the future of American colleges and universities. He does so by providing historical context to these contemporary anxieties.  Last month, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) released its annual … Continue reading

Remembering Richard Magat
In remembrance

Remembering Richard Magat

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Stanley N. Katz remembers his friend, Richard Magat, the long-serving Ford Foundation communications director who passed away on March 13. Richard Magat died on March 13, 2017.  That sad news likely did not register for many HistPhil readers. The name Dick Magat probably means little even to those currently engaged in the … Continue reading

A History of Voluntary Action and Political Frustration: Soskis on  Zinsmeister’s “What Comes Next?”
Current Events and Philanthropy / New Works in the Field

A History of Voluntary Action and Political Frustration: Soskis on Zinsmeister’s “What Comes Next?”

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis reviews Karl Zinsmeister’s What Comes Next? Over the last half century, whenever a Republican assumed the presidency after a stretch in electoral exile, you knew it was only a matter of time before Alexis de Tocqueville appeared on the scene. That is, calls to cut the size and scope … Continue reading

Perspectives on the history of humanitarianism: Three Ways of Looking at the International Red Cross
Conferences / New Works in the Field

Perspectives on the history of humanitarianism: Three Ways of Looking at the International Red Cross

[Editors’ Note: The following post, by Sarah Glassford, was first published, earlier this week, on the blog of the Canadian Network on Humanitarian History. It is the first in a series of three posts that will report on a conference held in September 2016 at Fliders University in Adelaide, Australia on the history of the … Continue reading

The Challenges and Benefits of Establishing Foundation Archives: A Legal Perspective
Archives and Knowledge Management

The Challenges and Benefits of Establishing Foundation Archives: A Legal Perspective

Editors’ Note: John Tyler, general counsel for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, adds his perspective to HistPhil‘s forum on archives and knowledge management. As other posts in HistPhil’s forum on archives have ably demonstrated, foundations contribute to the creation of extraordinary amounts of knowledge, tools and information. As foundations consider options for what to do … Continue reading

Seven Lessons from History about How to Make Protest Work
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality

Seven Lessons from History about How to Make Protest Work

Editors’ Note: Many Americans are anxious about Donald Trump’s presidency, and particularly Trump’s disparaging language and treatment of immigrants, Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans, women, the press, the judicial system, among other individuals and key institutions of American democratic life. They subsequently have wondered what role, if any, they can play in defending democratic values and principles … Continue reading

Donor Standing and the Real Legacy of Adele Smithers
Current Events and Philanthropy / In remembrance / Philanthropy in the News

Donor Standing and the Real Legacy of Adele Smithers

Editors’ Note: Brian Galle weighs in on the misunderstood legacy of heiress Adele Smithers, who passed away last week. HistPhil readers will have noticed the passing last week of Adele Smithers, the heiress and careful monitor of the charitable trust established by her late husband, R. Brinkley. The New York Times obit describes her as having … Continue reading

Finding, and Preserving, Democracy in UK’s voluntary sector archives
Archives and Knowledge Management

Finding, and Preserving, Democracy in UK’s voluntary sector archives

Editors’ Note: Charlotte Clements continues HistPhil’s forum on archives and knowledge management. In this post I want to offer a UK perspective on the archives of philanthropic and non-profit organisations. I am sure that several of the issues I highlight are common outside the UK and I am interested in working across borders to share knowledge … Continue reading

Scientific Knowledge on Minority Groups during the Trump Era
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Inequality

Scientific Knowledge on Minority Groups during the Trump Era

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey reports on her impressions of a forum on populism, the world order, and the Trump era hosted by the Carnegie Corporation and Time Magazine at the foundation’s offices last week. At the Carnegie Corporation offices in midtown Manhattan this past Tuesday, I attended a panel discussion coordinated by the foundation and Time Magazine on “A Populist … Continue reading

A Matter of Trusts: Philanthropy and India’s Biggest Corporate Scandal
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy in the News

A Matter of Trusts: Philanthropy and India’s Biggest Corporate Scandal

Editors’ Note: Mircea Raianu follows up on last year’s post on the Tata Trusts with historical insights on the corporate scandal that has rocked India and has implicated the nation’s largest philanthropy. In late October 2016, an extraordinary corporate scandal broke out in India. Tata, the country’s largest, most influential, and most widely respected business group, suddenly … Continue reading

Hewlett’s Larry Kramer on Archives & Historical Analysis at the Foundation
Archives and Knowledge Management / Philanthropy and Historical Research

Hewlett’s Larry Kramer on Archives & Historical Analysis at the Foundation

Editors’ Note: The following is an interview between HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey and Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer, which took place over email in the past weeks. For earlier Q&As between Kramer and Morey, please follow this link. Below, Kramer discusses the foundation’s forthcoming plans to establish formal archives and the organization’s use of its history in its decision-making … Continue reading

“We will ‘Totally Destroy’ the Johnson Amendment”
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and the State

“We will ‘Totally Destroy’ the Johnson Amendment”

Editors’ Note: During a speech at the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington last week, Donald Trump reaffirmed his campaign promise to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.” Here, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan offers a history of the amendment and some analysis on its likely future. President Trump announced at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday … Continue reading

The Atlantic Philanthropies and its Archives: Limited Life, Enduring Legacy
Archives and Knowledge Management

The Atlantic Philanthropies and its Archives: Limited Life, Enduring Legacy

Editors’ Note: Joanne Volpe Florino continues HistPhil’s forum on archives and knowledge management with a post detailing the archival strategy of The Atlantic Philanthropies. This past December, The Atlantic Philanthropies made its final awards, becoming the largest limited life philanthropy to complete its grantmaking. The end of this aspect of its organizational life has been long-planned … Continue reading

Philanthropic Data and the Rise of LLCs; Or, What Happens when Scholars Can No Longer Follow the Money
Archives and Knowledge Management

Philanthropic Data and the Rise of LLCs; Or, What Happens when Scholars Can No Longer Follow the Money

Editors’ Note: education scholar Sarah Reckhow continues HistPhil‘s forum on archives and knowledge management. Her post examines how new institutional forms within the sector are reshaping and constraining philanthropic research, and what this might mean for the philanthropy archives of the future. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) has received substantial media attention and scrutiny during … Continue reading

Ford’s Darren Walker on How Philanthropy Can Mine its Own Past
Archives and Knowledge Management

Ford’s Darren Walker on How Philanthropy Can Mine its Own Past

Editors’ Note: The following is an edited transcript of an interview between HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. In 2011, the Ford Foundation moved its archives, which had previously been housed in its New York headquarters, to the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC). Two years later, Walker became president of the Foundation. Since … Continue reading

Foundation Archives in the Digital Age
Archives and Knowledge Management

Foundation Archives in the Digital Age

Editors’ Note: Lucy Bernholz continues HistPhil‘s forum on archives and knowledge management. Foundations and archives often share a structural commitment to perpetuity. Yet most foundations haven’t shown an interest in organizing their own archives or in making them available to future scholars. This is a missed opportunity for institutions that care about their long-term impact. … Continue reading

The Beginnings of Independent Sector and Why They Matter
Current Events and Philanthropy / Oral History/Testimonies

The Beginnings of Independent Sector and Why They Matter

Editors’ Note: Last Week, Pablo Eisenberg, for decades one of the nation’s leading progressive critics of foundations, wrote an important op-ed in the Chronicle of Philanthropy calling for six reforms necessary to strengthen the nonprofit sector in the Trump era. One of those involved changes to Independent Sector, transforming it into “a new powerful coalition solely of charities.” In making … Continue reading

Bridging the Divide Between Scholarship and Practice: A View from the Rockefeller Archive Center
Archives and Knowledge Management

Bridging the Divide Between Scholarship and Practice: A View from the Rockefeller Archive Center

Editors’ Note: Laura Miller and Rachel Wimpee, historians and project directors at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC), continue HistPhil‘s forum on archives and knowledge management. The RAC is the nation’s leading repository of philanthropic archives, holding the records of such important institutions as the Rockefeller, Ford, and Russell Sage Foundations, as well as numerous nonprofits … Continue reading