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

“A Disparity in Paper”: Recovering Chinese Charitable Traditions and the Struggle Against Western Philanthropic Imperialism
Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Historical Research

“A Disparity in Paper”: Recovering Chinese Charitable Traditions and the Struggle Against Western Philanthropic Imperialism

Editors’ Note: This post, by Caroline Reeves, is adapted from a paper presented at the “Empires of Charity” conference, held at the University of Warwick in March 2017 and is part of Reeves’ larger project on the history of Chinese charitable giving. The Last Bastion of Cultural Imperialism In 2009, I was invited to celebrate the … Continue reading

Democracy, Social Science, and Philanthropy in the Mid-Century United States
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy

Democracy, Social Science, and Philanthropy in the Mid-Century United States

Editors’ Note:  Previewing his new book Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018), Daniel Bessner places particular attention on the work’s engagement with philanthropic history.  In the last several decades, the history of the social sciences and philanthropy has experienced something of a renaissance. Books and articles by … Continue reading

The Democratic Challenges of Philanthropy in Sweden
Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and the State / Philanthropy in Sweden

The Democratic Challenges of Philanthropy in Sweden

Editors’ Note: Noomi Weinryb and Jaakko Turunen continue HistPhil‘s forum on philanthropy in Sweden.  In the historical context of the Swedish welfare state, we will here discuss philanthropy as an economic expression of pluralism, which may be interpreted as historically antithetical to democratic practice in Sweden. We will hypothesize what an expansion and development of philanthropy could … Continue reading

Public money for public causes and private money for private causes? A short history of tax incentives for charitable giving in Sweden
Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and the State / Philanthropy in Sweden

Public money for public causes and private money for private causes? A short history of tax incentives for charitable giving in Sweden

Editors’ Note: Continuing HistPhil’s forum on philanthropy in Sweden, Johan Vamstad suggests that Swedes’ longstanding resistance to tax incentives for charitable giving is rooted in a particularly Swedish distinction between the public and the private. Sweden is one of very few countries in the world that does not offer its citizens any tax incentives for charitable giving, something … Continue reading

Philanthropy in Sweden: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Opportunities
Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Inequality / Philanthropy and the State / Philanthropy in Sweden

Philanthropy in Sweden: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Opportunities

Editors’ Note: Providing a sweeping history of civil society in Sweden, Lars Trägårdh continues our forum on philanthropy in Sweden. Based on this historical lens, Lars explains the relative novelty of philanthropy in Sweden and concludes by suggesting the types of philanthropy-state relations to which Swedes likely will be most receptive. Compared with most other … Continue reading

Sweden as Exemplar of Scientific Planning Philanthropy
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and the State / Philanthropy in Sweden

Sweden as Exemplar of Scientific Planning Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: This HistPhil forum on philanthropy in Sweden opens with an essay by HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey. It will be followed by contributions from Lars Trägårdh, Johan Vamstad, Noomi Weinryb, Johanna Palmberg, Pontus Braunerhjelm, and Jaakko Turunen. Though planned for some months, we are publishing this forum right as a national conversation in the United … Continue reading

Julius Rosenwald was not a Hero
Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Inequality / Philanthropy in the News

Julius Rosenwald was not a Hero

Editors’ Note: In response to a recent SSIR piece describing Julius Rosenwald as a philanthropic hero, HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey reflects on the distinction between an effective philanthropist and a heroic figure.  “Julius Rosenwald is one of our philanthropic heroes.” This is how Bridgespan’s William Foster, Gail Perreault, and Elise Tosun begin their essay on “Ten Ways to Make … Continue reading

Philanthropy in a Neoliberal Age: A Review of David Callahan’s THE GIVERS
Book Forum on Callahan's The Givers / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy

Philanthropy in a Neoliberal Age: A Review of David Callahan’s THE GIVERS

Editors’ Note: David Callahan’s The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age has been one of the more widely anticipated and widely discussed  books on philanthropy in recent memory (see, for instance, reviews and coverage here, here, here, and here). At HistPhil, we were keenly interested not only in the content of the book but … 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

Disruptive philanthropy?
Book Forum on Philanthropy in Democratic Societies / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy

Disruptive philanthropy?

Editors’ Note: For this current forum, we have asked the authors of the recently-published volume Philanthropy in Democratic Societies to present synopses of their contributions. Here, Aaron Horvath discusses his chapter on disruptive democracy, which he co-authored with Walter W. Powell.  In a June 2015 Wall Street Journal editorial, Sean Parker, of Napster and Facebook fame, advanced a manifesto for the new … Continue reading

Why is the History of Philanthropy not a Part of American History?
Book Forum on Philanthropy in Democratic Societies / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy

Why is the History of Philanthropy not a Part of American History?

Editors’ Note: We have asked the authors of the recently-published volume Philanthropy in Democratic Societies to present synopses of their contributions. Continuing this forum, Olivier Zunz discusses his chapter on the historical study of philanthropy.  If philanthropy were only an activity of the very wealthy, then the historical inquiry could safely center on the democratic legitimacy of large donations. But the debate … Continue reading

Designing nonprofits for the digital age: Lessons from the Digital Public Library of America
Book Forum on Philanthropy in Democratic Societies / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy

Designing nonprofits for the digital age: Lessons from the Digital Public Library of America

Editors’ Note: For this current forum, we have asked the authors of the recently-published volume Philanthropy in Democratic Societies to present synopses of their contributions. Here, Lucy Bernholz discusses her chapter on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  The story of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) fits into the volume, Philanthropy in Democratic Societies, as an illustrative case on the … Continue reading

Reconciling Corporate Social Responsibility And Profitability:  Guidelines for the Conscientious Manager
Book Forum on Philanthropy in Democratic Societies / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy

Reconciling Corporate Social Responsibility And Profitability: Guidelines for the Conscientious Manager

Editors’ Note: In our efforts to introduce readers to new works in the field, we have invited the authors of the recently-published volume Philanthropy in Democratic Societies to present synopses of their contributions. Paul Brest continues this forum by discussing his chapter on reconciling corporate social responsibility and profitability.  How can a company’s managers safeguard the firm’s financial value for its shareholders … Continue reading

The Problem With Discretionary Philanthropy
Book Forum on Philanthropy in Democratic Societies / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy

The Problem With Discretionary Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: Since our last conversation on philanthropy and the state, we have been working on two other forums for the site. Highlighting new scholarship in the field, this next forum centers on the edited volume, Philanthropy in Democratic Societies (U. of Chicago Press, 2016). In the book, editors Rob Reich, Chiara Cordelli, and Lucy Bernholz have brought together an interdisciplinary community … Continue reading

Maribel Morey Reviews Tompkins-Stange’s POLICY PATRONS (2016)
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Education

Maribel Morey Reviews Tompkins-Stange’s POLICY PATRONS (2016)

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor, Maribel Morey, reviews Megan Tompkins-Stange’s new book, Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform, and the Politics of Influence (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Education Press, 2016). In Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform, and the Politics of Influence, Megan Tompkins-Stange provides a fascinating peek into staff mentalities at the Gates, Broad, Kellogg, and Ford foundations. This is a … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Democracy

What if Tocqueville had travelled to Prussia, instead of the U.S.?

Editors’ Note: Earlier this week, Olivier Zunz and Emma Saunders-Hastings discussed Alexis de Tocqueville’s views on philanthropy, with Saunders-Hastings arguing that the sector today is more aristocratic than democratic in the Tocquevillian sense. Responding to this ongoing conversation on Tocqueville’s observations of American life, Thomas Adam explains that philanthropy is not unique to democracies nor does it necessarily signal a … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Democracy

Is American Philanthropy Really Democratic in the Tocquevillian Sense?

Editors’ Note: In an earlier post, Olivier Zunz outlined Alexis de Tocqueville’s thoughts on associations and philanthropy. Here, Emma Saunders-Hastings argues that, while many individuals have noted Tocqueville’s remarks on philanthropy as highlighting the special place of philanthropy in American life, the sector today is more aristocratic than democratic in the Tocquevillian sense.   Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America gives … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Democracy

Alexis de Tocqueville on Associations and Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: In the past weeks, HistPhil contributors such as Larry Kramer and Olivier Zunz have made mention of Alexis de Tocqueville in their respective Q&As. Here, Olivier Zunz goes into further detail on the nineteenth-century French scholar’s thoughts on associations and philanthropy. In a subsequent post, Emma Saunders-Hastings asks whether American philanthropy today is democratic in the … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Historical Research

Q&A with Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer

Editors’ Note: The following is a conversation between Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer and HistPhil co-founder Maribel Morey. It was conducted via email in February and early March, and inspired by Kramer’s 2015 Roberts Lecture at Penn Law “‘To Adjust These Clashing Interests’: Negotiation and Compromise as Core Constitutional Values.” A constitutional scholar and historian who is now a foundation president, Larry Kramer … Continue reading