Latest Entries
Choosing between Financial Viability and a Political Voice: A History of the NAACP’s Tax Status
Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality / Philanthropy and the State

Choosing between Financial Viability and a Political Voice: A History of the NAACP’s Tax Status

Editors’ Note: Bringing historical context to the NAACP’s decision in 2017 to change its tax status from a 501(c)3 to 501(c)4, HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey argues that the NAACP’s announcement “should be understood as yet another move by an organization long deciding between accepting political silence and financial viability as a 501(c)3 or gaining political voice and financial vulnerability as … Continue reading

Conferences

Keep Nonprofit Studies Weird: History & Humanities at the 2018 ARNOVA Annual Conference in Austin

Editors’ Note: Today, the 47th Annual Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) Conference meets in Austin, Texas. The conference planners have made a concerted effort to encourage more panels on humanities-related subjects (last year, they introduced a separate humanities track). HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis will be there, participating on a panel on … Continue reading

Carnegie, Ford, and the Rapid Rise of Behavioral Approaches in the Social Sciences
New Works in the Field

Carnegie, Ford, and the Rapid Rise of Behavioral Approaches in the Social Sciences

Editors’ Note: Comparing the strategies of the Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corporation in promoting the behavioral sciences in mid-20th century U.S., Emily Hauptmann concludes the essay by noting that: “though there were important differences between how Carnegie and Ford chose to publicize their aims, both devoted considerable resources to building what they hoped would be congenial, … Continue reading

NGOs and International Development: What have we learned, how did we learn it, and where should NGO research go next?
New Works in the Field

NGOs and International Development: What have we learned, how did we learn it, and where should NGO research go next?

Editors’ Note: Collecting and analyzing three decades of NGO research, Allison Schnable, Jennifer N. Brass, and Rachel S. Robinson have asked: “what have we learned, and how have we learned it?  Where should NGO scholarship go next?” Recently published in World Development, the authors share their findings.  The 1980s were dubbed “the NGO decade.”  In fact, however, these … Continue reading

Grappling with Legacy – The Pursuit of Effective Philanthropy with Ancestral Skeletons in the Closet
Current Events and Philanthropy / Oral History/Testimonies / Philanthropy

Grappling with Legacy – The Pursuit of Effective Philanthropy with Ancestral Skeletons in the Closet

Editors’ Note: Sylvia Brown chronicles her experience grappling with the relationship between the legacy of the Brown Family and her own commitment to philanthropy. In 1989 my father sold his most valuable possession, a Colonial-era bookcase-on-desk, to pay for the restoration of our family home in Providence, Rhode Island. The desk fetched $12.1 million at … Continue reading

The enrollment Crisis and Financial Isomorphism in Legal education, 1890-2018
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Education

The enrollment Crisis and Financial Isomorphism in Legal education, 1890-2018

Editors’ Note: This post, from Bruce A. Kimball and Daniel R. Coquillette, is adapted from their book, On the Battlefield of Merit: Harvard Law School, the First Century (Harvard University Press, 2015), which was awarded the Peter Dobkin Hall History of Philanthropy Prize by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Associations in 2017. … Continue reading

Paul Brest and Hal Harvey Respond
Money Well Spent (2nd Edition) Forum

Paul Brest and Hal Harvey Respond

Editors’ Note: HistPhil‘s forum on Paul Brest and Hal Harvey’s Money Well Spent (2008, 2018) has included contributions from Lily Geismer, David Hammack, Erica Kohl-Arenas, Tiffany Willoughby-Herard and HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey. As suggested in the opening essay to this forum, these scholars have engaged critically and historically with the book, both as a cultural artifact in the practice … Continue reading

“Don’t Cry for Me, Organize!–Political Organizing, The Strength of Communities, or the Limits of Predictive Philanthropy
Money Well Spent (2nd Edition) Forum

“Don’t Cry for Me, Organize!–Political Organizing, The Strength of Communities, or the Limits of Predictive Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: Concluding HistPhil‘s forum on Money Well Spent, Tiffany Willoughby-Herard reflects on the text, her scholarship on race and philanthropy, and her lived experiences in everyday life. Alluding to Money Well Spent’s subtitle, “A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy,” Willoughby-Herard recommends that the “best plan ‘for smart philanthropy’ would speak to the collective rather than the individual. And rather than solving … Continue reading

Philanthropic Poverty Action: A Brief History of Strategic Donor Behavior
Money Well Spent (2nd Edition) Forum

Philanthropic Poverty Action: A Brief History of Strategic Donor Behavior

Editors’ Note: Erica Kohl-Arenas continues HistPhil‘s forum on Paul Brest and Hal Harvey‘s Money Well Spent (2008, 2018). Focusing on the authors’ analysis of philanthropic strategy and social change, Kohl-Arenas provides “some brief historical accounts to show how funders’ inability to solve the problems they set out to address is not necessarily due to lack of strategy—as Brest and … Continue reading

In a Democracy, Is That Really a Social Problem?
Money Well Spent (2nd Edition) Forum

In a Democracy, Is That Really a Social Problem?

Editors’ Note: Adding to HistPhil’s forum on Money Well Spent, HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey considers the democratic importance of pushing back against Paul Brest and Hal Harvey’s commitment to value neutrality throughout the book, and particularly in their discussion of social problems. Relating her historical work on Carnegie Corporation’s response to black nationalism in the 1920s, Morey stresses: “As democratic citizens—as human … Continue reading

Money Well Spent in Historical Context
Money Well Spent (2nd Edition) Forum

Money Well Spent in Historical Context

Editors’ Note: Continuing HistPhil’s forum on the second edition of Paul Brest and Hal Harvey’s Money Well Spent (2018), David C. Hammack places the book’s first and second publications, respectively in 2008 and 2018, within a sweeping 300-year history of philanthropic manuals in the United States.  With the 2008 publication of Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for … Continue reading

Metaphors of the Market and the Moment
Money Well Spent (2nd Edition) Forum

Metaphors of the Market and the Moment

Editors’ Note: Contributing to HistPhil’s forum on Paul Brest and Hal Harvey’s Money Well Spent (2018), Lily Geismer places in historical context the authors’ emphasis on strategic philanthropy. Geismer concludes her analysis by suggesting that, as “the nation and world confront both new and persistent crises, it seems an important moment to consider the power and possibilities in looking to practices … Continue reading

Miles to Go
Money Well Spent (2nd Edition) Forum

Miles to Go

Editors’ Note: With this post, Paul Brest and Hal Harvey launch HistPhil’s forum on the second edition of their book, Money Well Spent (2008, 2018). In a separate post, HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey introduces the forum and its contributors. Below, Brest and Harvey reflect on changing intellectual currents among philanthropists and philanthropic organizations since their book’s first publication in 2008; and … Continue reading

Introducing HistPhil’s Forum on MONEY WELL SPENT
Money Well Spent (2nd Edition) Forum

Introducing HistPhil’s Forum on MONEY WELL SPENT

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey introduces HistPhil‘s forum on the second edition of Paul Brest and Hal Harvey’s Money Well Spent (2018), published earlier this summer. With this new edition, Morey reasons that it is “a great moment to engage critically and historically with the book, both as a cultural artifact in the practice of philanthropy and as a … Continue reading

Revisiting “Disciples or Demigods”: The Case For and Against Anonymous Giving Now and a Quarter Century Ago
History of Anonymous Giving

Revisiting “Disciples or Demigods”: The Case For and Against Anonymous Giving Now and a Quarter Century Ago

Editors’ Note: Paul Schervish wraps up HistPhil‘s forum on anonymous giving, with a reflection on groundbreaking research on the topic he conducted a quarter century ago. In 1994 I published “The Sound of One Hand Clapping: The Case for and against Anonymous Giving.”[1] The basis for the article was a series of interviews I had done … Continue reading

The Unevenness of Archives
Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Education / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality

The Unevenness of Archives

Editors’ Note: With a lens on the funding of black education in early twentieth-century United States, Melissa Wooten discusses how wealth inequality among charitable givers and racialized tendencies in public memory lead to inequities in the archives, and thus too, to writing histories privileging the philanthropic acts of the wealthy over the less wealthy and of whites … Continue reading

The UK Civil Society Strategy and  The History of State vs Philanthropic Welfare Provision
Philanthropy and the State / Philanthropy in the News

The UK Civil Society Strategy and The History of State vs Philanthropic Welfare Provision

Editors’ Note: Against the backdrop of the UK government’s new Civil Society Strategy, Rhodri Davies provides broader historical context to UK debates on civil society, the state, and welfare needs.  The UK government recently launched its major new Civil Society Strategy, billed as the first attempt in 15 years to outline a holistic vision for the relationship … Continue reading

Policing the Border: A History of IRS Regulation of Political Activity
Current Events and Philanthropy / History of Anonymous Giving

Policing the Border: A History of IRS Regulation of Political Activity

Editors’ Note: Roger Colinvaux continues HistPhil’s forum on anonymous giving with a post that places the controversies over “dark money” contributions into historical and legal context. The IRS is a partisan political punching bag, perhaps no more so than in the area of regulation of nonprofit organizations. Over the past five years, there have been … Continue reading

Undergraduate Seminar on the History of Philanthropy
Philanthropy and Historical Research

Undergraduate Seminar on the History of Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: Last August, I shared with readers my syllabus for a graduate seminar on the history of philanthropy. In a similar spirit, I am including below an undergraduate version of that class which I will be teaching this fall. Of course, and as always, please feel free to reach out with feedback and suggestions both on … Continue reading