Crossing the border between helping and being helped: Informal Giving and the U.S. Immigrant Crisis
Current Events and Philanthropy / New Works in the Field

Crossing the border between helping and being helped: Informal Giving and the U.S. Immigrant Crisis

Editors’ Note: Jamie Goodwin introduces her research on the informal giving network of immigration communities at the U.S. Southern border. [Haga clic aquí para la versión en español de este artículo.] “Our principal thesis is that a river of care rises…and that we must trace its flow through all its branches, including all those hidden yet … 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

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

Solidarity: The History of a Powerful Idea and how it can Shape Philanthropic Practice
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Historical Research

Solidarity: The History of a Powerful Idea and how it can Shape Philanthropic Practice

Editors’ Note: Activist Leah Hunt-Hendrix discusses the history of the idea of “solidarity” and how it has shaped her own philanthropic projects, including the Solidaire funders’ network.  The words we use matter.  When we employ terms like “altruism” or “effective” or “venture” we are locating ourselves in specific schools of thought, which include ideas about good and bad, … Continue reading

Carnegie Libraries, Holiday Re-gifting, and the Perils of Tax Windfall Philanthropy
Current Events and Philanthropy / From the Editors

Carnegie Libraries, Holiday Re-gifting, and the Perils of Tax Windfall Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: A version of this essay, by HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis, was published online in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Not long after Congress passed its massive tax overhaul—and even before President Trump had actually signed the bill itself—corporate PR departments across the country were busy putting out press releases documenting how the bill’s passage … Continue reading

The Return of Hookworm and the Limits of Public Health Philanthropy
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and the State

The Return of Hookworm and the Limits of Public Health Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis reflects on a recent article in the Guardian on the return of hookworm to the American South. There’s been no shortage of news stories over the last several months that delivered a punch to the gut of our national self-regard, challenging Whiggish notions of moral progression that still color … 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

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

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

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

“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 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

The Clinton Foundation and the Declining Price of Antiretroviral Drugs: A Cautionary Success Story
Current Events and Philanthropy

The Clinton Foundation and the Declining Price of Antiretroviral Drugs: A Cautionary Success Story

Editors’ Note: In this post, Tamara Mann Tweel offers an assessment of the impact of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, based on a report completed for the Open Philanthropy Project. The Open Philanthropy Project, funded by GiveWell and Good Ventures, also supports the work of HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis on the blog. Two modes of discourse dominate … Continue reading

Current Events and Philanthropy / From the Editors

Philanthropy Scholarship at Ongoing Policy History Conference (Nashville, TN)

From today until Saturday, June 4th, the ninth biennial Policy History Conference is taking place at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. And just this moment, a wonderful group of scholars has gathered to discuss private foundations and public policy: ______________________________ Private Foundations and Public Policy: How Modern Philanthropy Has Shaped Credit, Labor, and Population Policies (3:15pm-4:45pm) Chair … Continue reading

Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and the State

Edwin Embree as Exemplar: How one Philanthropic Leader Confronted Racial Prejudice during the Second World War

Editors’ Note: Alfred Perkins highlights the leadership of Edwin Embree, who served for two decades as president of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, in advocating for the rights of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. The current presidential campaign has brought again to the surface the hostility to cultural differences long an element in the American emotional … Continue reading

Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and the State

Charity’s No Stranger to Political Advocacy

Editors’ Note: Andrew Purkis concludes this week’s focus on governmental reform of charities within the UK, as part of HistPhil’s forum on philanthropy and the state. The other two pieces on this subtopic were authored by Rhodri Davies and Peter Grant. England has a proud history of non-party political campaigning for charitable causes, with roots deep in the … Continue reading

Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and the State / Philanthropy in the News

Crisis and Response: What History Tells us about the Challenges Facing UK Charities

Editors’ Note: Rhodri Davies continues this week’s focus on governmental reform of charities within the UK, as part of HistPhil’s forum on philanthropy and the state. The charity sector in the UK is currently going through a torrid time. A series of issues with the way charities operate and fundraise have recently come to the … Continue reading

Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and the State / Philanthropy in the News

Charities in the Firing Line

Editors’ Note: As part of HistPhil’s forum on philanthropy and the state, this week we bring you a series of posts on the situation in the UK, where a series of controversies in the charitable sector has led to calls for increased governmental regulation. Peter Grant opens the discussion. Both charities in general and fundraisers in particular have … Continue reading