Latest Entries
The Kids Are Alright: The Promise and Reality of Youth Volunteering, 1974-2018
New Works in the Field

The Kids Are Alright: The Promise and Reality of Youth Volunteering, 1974-2018

Editors’ Note: Robert Grimm and Nathan Dietz discuss the findings of the new report from the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute, “Good Intentions, Gap in Action,” on youth civic engagement. Over the past several weeks, the students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have proved that young people have the civic … Continue reading

A Review of Shomari Wills’s BLACK FORTUNES (2018)
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Historical Research

A Review of Shomari Wills’s BLACK FORTUNES (2018)

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Maribel Morey reviews Shomari Wills’s Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires (New York: Amistad, HarperCollins Publishers, 2018).  Detailing a history of the “first cohort of black millionaires” in the United States, journalist Shomari Wills begins Black Fortunes by correcting the popular myth that … Continue reading

Risk and Reward: A History of Charitable Gift Annuities
New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Historical Research

Risk and Reward: A History of Charitable Gift Annuities

Editors’ Note: Ronald A. Brown provides a history of charitable gift annuities, based on his new book, A History of Charitable Gift Planning: How Gift Annuities Shaped American Philanthropy (1830-1959). In the ecosystem of American philanthropy, money is not only given, it is actively raised. There are only a few major histories of charitable fundraising, … 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

Donations for More than Just Diplomas: Conservative Philanthropy and American Higher Education
History of Philanthropy and Conservatism / Philanthropy and Education

Donations for More than Just Diplomas: Conservative Philanthropy and American Higher Education

Editors’ Note: Elizabeth Shermer joins HistPhil‘s forum on the history of conservatism and philanthropy. Private giving has been instrumental in American higher education’s development. Especially before state and federal governments started spending more on college and universities during the Cold War, philanthropy served as a major source of financial support for those institutions. Yet conservative donors, especially … 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

The Historical Roots of Humanitarian Photography: a 19th-Century Evangelical Newspaper’s Enduring Influence on the Global Aid Industry
New Works in the Field

The Historical Roots of Humanitarian Photography: a 19th-Century Evangelical Newspaper’s Enduring Influence on the Global Aid Industry

Editors’ Note: Heather D. Curtis discusses her new book, Holy Humanitarians: American Evangelicals and Global Aid. On September 2, 2015, the body of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up ashore near the Turkish resort of Bodrum. Originally from Damascus, the boy and his family were refugees from the Syrian civil war seeking to reach the Greek … Continue reading

The Archives as Meeting Place: Perspectives on the HIV/AIDS History Collaboratory
Archives and Knowledge Management / Philanthropy and Historical Research

The Archives as Meeting Place: Perspectives on the HIV/AIDS History Collaboratory

Editors’ Note: Dan Royles guest-edits the following post, which features five perspectives on the HIV/AIDS History Collaboratory, hosted by the Rockefeller Archive Center. In June 2017 the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) convened a meeting of scholars, grantmakers, and AIDS activists to discuss new directions for the histories of HIV/AIDS and the ways that a better … Continue reading

A new social contract: Reconciling the welfare state and societal change through philanthropy
Philanthropy and the State / Philanthropy in Sweden

A new social contract: Reconciling the welfare state and societal change through philanthropy

Editors’ Note: HistPhil‘s forum on philanthropy in Sweden closes with a contribution from Johanna Palmberg and Pontus Braunerhjelm. The two authors describe shifting intellectual currents in Sweden (and Europe more broadly) which are making it increasingly favorable for philanthropy and conclude by suggesting ways for philanthropic giving to play an increasingly greater role in European societies … 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

J. Howard Pew’s Godly Conservatism
History of Philanthropy and Conservatism

J. Howard Pew’s Godly Conservatism

Editors’ Notes: This week, HistPhil begins to wrap up its forum on the history of conservative philanthropy with a post from Andrew Jungclaus. In the period of American history I study—1913 to 1969, a stretch bookended by two pieces of tax legislation dictating the terms under which philanthropic foundations would be organized and run—conservative philanthropy … Continue reading

The Bradley Foundation’s “Milwaukee Story”: Patience and Perseverance in Foundation Funding of School Choice
History of Philanthropy and Conservatism

The Bradley Foundation’s “Milwaukee Story”: Patience and Perseverance in Foundation Funding of School Choice

Editors’ Note: Daniel Schmidt and Michael Hartmann continue HistPhil’s forum on conservative philanthropy. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee has generally been considered by both its allies and (grudgingly) by its foes one of the most-effective conservative philanthropies in the United States. This recognition has been due in large part to the grantmaking roles … Continue reading

Philanthropy and the American Far Right
History of Philanthropy and Conservatism

Philanthropy and the American Far Right

Editors’ Note: David Walsh continues HistPhil‘s forum on the history of conservative philanthropy. How should historians—and especially historians of philanthropy—understand the far right in American history? Is the far right simply a lunatic fringe that has, occasionally, managed to briefly coalesce to make an actual impact in American politics? Or have far right politics enjoyed … Continue reading

Political Investment, the Grassroots, and Policy Change: Lessons from the Conservative Legal Movement
History of Philanthropy and Conservatism

Political Investment, the Grassroots, and Policy Change: Lessons from the Conservative Legal Movement

Editors’ Note: Jefferson Decker continues HistPhil‘s forum on the history of conservative philanthropy. In 1973, a group of California lawyers left the administration of Gov. Ronald Reagan to form a new sort of policy organization: a non-profit, “public interest” legal foundation staffed entirely by conservatives. Calling themselves Pacific Legal Foundation, these attorneys sought to defend … Continue reading

Conservative Philanthropy and Political Coalition Building Across the U.S. States
History of Philanthropy and Conservatism

Conservative Philanthropy and Political Coalition Building Across the U.S. States

Editors’ Note: With this post from Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, HistPhil opens a new forum on the history of conservative philanthropy. We are approaching the bounds of this topic expansively, hoping that questions of what constitutes conservative philanthropy, what its lineage might be, and whether it even makes sense to speak of a distinctly conservative philanthropic tradition … Continue reading

Disrupting defaults and upending moral hierarchies in discussions of philanthropic timeframes: A Review of Fleishman’s Putting Wealth to Work
New Works in the Field

Disrupting defaults and upending moral hierarchies in discussions of philanthropic timeframes: A Review of Fleishman’s Putting Wealth to Work

Editors’ Note: Benjamin Soskis reviews Joel Fleishman’s Putting Wealth to Work: Philanthropy for Today or Investing for Tomorrow? HistPhil recently published an excerpt from the book. In his new book, Putting Wealth to Work, Joel Fleishman, a professor of law and public policy at Duke and the director of its Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil … Continue reading

Puncturing the Myth of Henry Ford II’s Foundation Resignation–an excerpt from Joel Fleishman’s Putting Wealth to Work
New Works in the Field

Puncturing the Myth of Henry Ford II’s Foundation Resignation–an excerpt from Joel Fleishman’s Putting Wealth to Work

Editors’ Note: The following is a modified excerpt from Joel Fleishman’s recently published book, Putting Wealth to Work: Philanthropy for Today or Investing for Tomorrow? Henry Ford II resigned as a trustee of the Ford Foundation in 1976, 40 years after he assumed his first role at the organization.  His decision to leave, and the way … Continue reading