Updating HistPhil’s Reading List
Current Events and Philanthropy / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Democracy / Philanthropy and Education / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Philanthropy and Inequality / Philanthropy and the State

Updating HistPhil’s Reading List

Editors’ Note: In response to Black Lives Matter protests, #BlackInTheIvory, and nearly daily updates of leading U.S. philanthropies, nonprofits and for-profits proclaiming their allyship to the BLM movement, we have questioned what role we should and could play here on HistPhil. As a first step, we are amplifying the published works of Black scholars both … Continue reading

A Small Grant Can Go a Long Way: Building Support for Native American Governance
In remembrance / Philanthropy / Philanthropy and the State

A Small Grant Can Go a Long Way: Building Support for Native American Governance

Editors’ Note: Michael Lipsky tells the story of a small Ford Foundation grant, made by Norm Collins in 1986, that led to the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and paved the way for Ford’s Honoring Contributions in the Governance of American Indian Nations awards program. This post … Continue reading

Taking on Tocqueville: Revisiting the Connection between Democracy and Civil Society
Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Democracy

Taking on Tocqueville: Revisiting the Connection between Democracy and Civil Society

Editors’ Note: HistPhil takes a brief break from our forum on the Tax Reform Act of 1969 for a post by Thomas Adam complicating the historical association between the growth of democracy and the surging of civil society. Alexis de Tocqueville’s dictum that Americans formed associations for addressing social problems while the French and English … Continue reading

In Defense of Unstrategic Philanthropy
Oral History/Testimonies / Philanthropy / Uncategorized

In Defense of Unstrategic Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: Gara LaMarche reflects on lessons learned from leadership positions at two of the nation’s largest foundations, Open Society Foundations and the recently sunset Atlantic Philanthropies. I’ve been helping foundations and rich individuals redistribute their wealth to non-profits and social movements for nearly twenty-five years, and almost all of that time there has been … Continue reading

The Historical Case for Participatory Grantmaking
Philanthropy

The Historical Case for Participatory Grantmaking

Editors’ Note: Cynthia Gibson, one of the leading experts on participatory philanthropy, explains why funders who question whether a participatory approach is consistent with philanthropic practice might want to consult the sector’s past. The material in this post is adapted from a number of sources, including Cynthia Gibson, Participatory Grantmaking: Has Its Time Come? (New York: … Continue reading

Native Wisdom: A Review of Edgar Villanueva’s Decolonizing Wealth
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy

Native Wisdom: A Review of Edgar Villanueva’s Decolonizing Wealth

Editors’ Note: Michael Seltzer reviews Edgar Villanueva‘s new book, Decolonizing Wealth. In his book, The Wretched of the Earth, published in 1961, Frantz Fanon noted what he considered to be the necessary conditions for the overthrow of colonialism: “To tell the truth, the proof of success lies in a whole social structure being changed from … Continue reading

Giving Athletes: Why Sports Philanthropy Deserves Our Attention
Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy

Giving Athletes: Why Sports Philanthropy Deserves Our Attention

Editors’ Note: Sarah Fields spotlights the need for more scholarly attention directed to the history of athletes’ philanthropy. Athletes are a complicated group. Sporting figures have long been celebrities, but they have not always been wealthy either as a class or as individuals. And yet they have long been involved in various ways with philanthropy and … 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

“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

Toward an Appreciation of Generosity’s “Full Range and Flourishing”
Philanthropy

Toward an Appreciation of Generosity’s “Full Range and Flourishing”

Editors’ Note: Paul Schervish writes on the dangers of researchers equating generosity with formal charitable giving. Just peruse studies and media commentary on charitable giving and you will see how often one financial group, region, gender, or race is called more “generous” than another on the basis of how much formal charitable giving that group carries … Continue reading

Giving Like Newton
Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Historical Research / Uncategorized

Giving Like Newton

Editors’ Note: With today’s philanthropies in mind, Michael E. Hartmann explains the relevance of a recently-published Science Advances article on past knowledge and future breakthroughs in science and technology.  What’s new? It’s a common question for us all. You’ve heard it. You’ve asked it. It’s often a useful way of jumpstarting conversation. It was also commonly asked of … Continue reading

Chuck Feeney and the Complex Tri-Partite History of “Giving While Living”
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy

Chuck Feeney and the Complex Tri-Partite History of “Giving While Living”

Editors’ Note: The following is adapted from the introduction to a paper just published by the Atlantic Philanthropies, written by HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis, on the history of “Giving While Living,” examined through the story of Chuck Feeney and the Atlantic Philanthropies. The paper is itself an excerpt from a larger monograph that analyzes the issue of … Continue reading