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

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

Expressive Anonymity: What Pseudonyms in 19th Century Charity Subscription Lists Tell Us About Donors
History of Anonymous Giving

Expressive Anonymity: What Pseudonyms in 19th Century Charity Subscription Lists Tell Us About Donors

Editors’ Note: Sarah Flew continues HistPhil‘s forum on anonymous giving. This post is based on Flew’s article, “Unveiling the Anonymous Philanthropist: Charity in the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Victorian Culture 20, issue 1 (March 2015), 20-33. Whilst researching philanthropy in London in the nineteenth century, I became fascinated by the small proportion of individuals who … Continue reading

The Price of Privacy: What’s Wrong with the New Shadow Giving System
History of Anonymous Giving

The Price of Privacy: What’s Wrong with the New Shadow Giving System

Editors’ Note: David Callahan adds to HistPhil‘s forum on anonymous giving. The world of philanthropy is becoming less transparent, and that’s not a good thing. Recent years have seen the rapid growth of a shadow giving system that funnels billions of dollars in gifts in ways that leave no fingerprints. The disclosure rules that have governed … Continue reading

The Historical Case for Charitable Donor Privacy
History of Anonymous Giving

The Historical Case for Charitable Donor Privacy

Editors’ Note: Sean Parnell continues Histphil‘s forum on anonymous giving, making the affirmative, historical case. Modern discussions of anonymous philanthropic giving tend to focus on supposed malefactors such as the libertarian brothers Charles and David Koch, progressive George Soros, or the general threat that so-called “dark money” poses to our free society.[1] Often lost in these … Continue reading

Beyond Maimonides’ Ladder: Anonymous Charity in Early Jewish Tradition
History of Anonymous Giving

Beyond Maimonides’ Ladder: Anonymous Charity in Early Jewish Tradition

Editors’ Note: Gregg Gardner adds more deep historical background to HistPhil’s forum on anonymous giving. It is commonly held that Judaism holds anonymous giving as the highest form of charity – a characteristically Jewish form of philanthropy championed by the preeminent philosopher Moses Maimonides (1135–1204 CE). Yet the truth is more complicated: anonymous giving was directed … Continue reading

It’s No Secret: The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Benefits and Drawbacks to Operating Anonymously
History of Anonymous Giving

It’s No Secret: The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Benefits and Drawbacks to Operating Anonymously

Editors’ Note: The Atlantic Philanthropies’ Christopher G. Oechsli continues HistPhil’s forum on anonymous giving. There was a time, and not that long ago, when our strict adherence to operating anonymously would have made it impossible for The Atlantic Philanthropies to participate in a forum like this. In fact, for our first 15 years, we didn’t publicly … Continue reading

Sound Not a Trumpet, Let your Light Shine: the Tension at the Heart of Medieval Attitudes toward Anonymous Giving
History of Anonymous Giving

Sound Not a Trumpet, Let your Light Shine: the Tension at the Heart of Medieval Attitudes toward Anonymous Giving

Editors’ Note: Adam Davis continues HistPhil’s forum on the history of anonymous giving with some deep historical background. During the first millennium and a half of Christian history, there was a fundamental tension between the ideal of anonymous charity on the one hand, which by definition was not done out of vainglory, and on the other … Continue reading

Introducing HistPhil’s Forum on the History of Anonymous Giving
From the Editors / History of Anonymous Giving

Introducing HistPhil’s Forum on the History of Anonymous Giving

Editors’ Note: This post, by HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis, introduces HistPhil‘s forum on the history of anonymous giving, which will be featured on the site over the next few weeks. To get a sense of the ambiguous place that anonymous giving now occupies within contemporary attitudes towards philanthropy, take a look at a striking passage in … Continue reading