Why Ford’s $1 Billion Commitment to Mission-Related Investments is a Big Deal–and a Risky One
From the Editors / Philanthropy in the News

Why Ford’s $1 Billion Commitment to Mission-Related Investments is a Big Deal–and a Risky One

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis weighs in on the Ford Foundation’s announcement that it will commit $1 billion over the next decade to mission-related investments. Today, the Ford Foundation announced that, over the next decade, it would direct $1 billion dollars from its $12 billion endowment to mission-related investments (MRI). As the foundation explains, … 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

Ford’s Darren Walker on How Philanthropy Can Mine its Own Past
Archives and Knowledge Management

Ford’s Darren Walker on How Philanthropy Can Mine its Own Past

Editors’ Note: The following is an edited transcript of an interview between HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. In 2011, the Ford Foundation moved its archives, which had previously been housed in its New York headquarters, to the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC). Two years later, Walker became president of the Foundation. Since … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Historical Research

An Interview with National Philanthropic Trust’s Eileen Heisman on NPT’s new History of Modern Philanthropy website

Editors’ Note: On Tuesday, National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) unveiled a new History of Modern Philanthropy website at HistoryofGiving.org, a digital resource that covers the last 500 years of global philanthropy. The digital exhibition highlights 200 moments in global philanthropy illustrated by almost 100 rare media assets, including documents, audio and video. Below is an edited … Continue reading

Current Events and Philanthropy / From the Editors

To be Young, Rich, and Philanthropic

A few weeks ago, on the NCRP blog, Ryan Schlegel wrote an insightful post pushing back against some of the breathless celebration that had surrounded the promotion of “hacker philanthropy,” the term that Sean Parker coined in a Wall Street Journal op-ed to describe the giving of his tech mogul peers. Philanthropic “hackers,” according to … Continue reading

Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy in the News

Philanthropy and the quest for Civic Competence

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has just published an editorial I wrote on the responses to the Zuckerberg-Chan announcement and on what they might suggest about the public’s engagement with big philanthropy in the years to come. I was tempted to include in it some additional reflections on an earlier episode from American philanthropic history in … Continue reading

Philanthropy vs. Charity

The Indeterminate Politics of the Charity vs. Philanthropy Divide

Editors’ Note: The following post, from HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis, continues our forum on “charity vs. philanthropy.” It is adapted from a monograph Soskis wrote last year, “Both More and No More:  The Historical Split Between Charity and Philanthropy” for the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal. One of the more fascinating elements of … Continue reading

From the Editors / New Works in the Field

Hudson Institute Event for Linsey McGoey’s NO SUCH THING AS A FREE GIFT (2015)

Editors’ Note: Last Thursday in Washington D.C., HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis attended the Hudson Institute’s event for Linsey McGoey’s No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy. Below, he provides a synopsis of the event along with an analysis of McGoey’s presentation.  Last Thursday, the Hudson Institute hosted an event for … Continue reading

From the Editors

Social Velocity’s Q&A with HistPhil

Several weeks ago, Social Velocity’s Nell Edgington sent us a series of questions asking us to compare and contrast past and present American philanthropy. She has now posted our responses on Social Velocity’s blog. Please visit her site and check out this latest post: “Learning from Philanthropy’s Past: An Interview with the HistPhil Blog.” In this Q&A, Stan discusses two … Continue reading

From the Editors / Philanthropy and Historical Research

History of Philanthropy at NYU’s Philanthropy & the Law Annual Conference

Yesterday and today, NYU School of Law’s National Center on Philanthropy and the Law is holding its annual conference, this year on the topic of “Elasticity of the Boundaries: What Is (and Isn’t) Charitable.” HistPhil‘s own Stanley N. Katz delivered an opening paper on the history of those boundaries, “Should We Kill the Goose that Laid the … Continue reading

Current Events and Philanthropy / Philanthropy and Education

Upcoming Philamplify Debate on Reform Strategies in Education

Next Tuesday, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy will host their first Philamplify debate on “Reform Strategies in Education.” Philamplify is the novel evaluative tool that NCRP designed, using some of the principles of crowd-sourcing, in which the NCRP performs a deep investigation into a single foundation, but also opens up the process to the … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Historical Research

An Update on Open Philanthropy’s History of Philanthropy Project

Editors’ Note: Next week, this site will begin a discussion on philanthropy & education. In the meantime, HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis provides an update on his work with Open Philanthropy’s history of philanthropy project. Several years ago, GiveWell, a nonprofit that evaluates charities and advises donors on effective giving, began to consider how historical inquiry might help them … Continue reading

From the Editors / Philanthropy and Education

A Call for Contributions on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge

As part of HistPhil‘s education theme, we’d like to run a post, or a number of posts, on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which can be regarded as a precedent for some of the major educational philanthropic interventions of the current moment. If you are doing work on the Challenge, or know a scholar, researcher or … Continue reading

From the Editors / Philanthropy and Education / Philanthropy and Inequality

Shifting Focus: From Inequality to Education

With Erica Kohl-Arenas’ recent piece, HistPhil‘s forum on inequality comes to an end. This is not to say that our attention toward the issue will wane; we still welcome contributions and discussions on the topic. But at the start of September, we’ll be moving on to a focus on another theme: the history of the … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Inequality

Does Ford’s Announcement Signal a New Gospel of Wealth?

Editors’ Note: HistPhil co-editor Benjamin Soskis continues the Philanthropy & Inequality Forum with the below post. One of the welcome, immediate consequences of the Ford Foundation’s recent announcement that it would focus its grant-making on eradicating inequality has been the flood of excellent writing on the subject of philanthropy and inequality that it has provoked—at HistPhil and elsewhere. I’ve … Continue reading

Philanthropy in the News

What it means to think historically about philanthropy

Broadly conceived, HistPhil is dedicated to encouraging the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to think historically about their work. What, precisely, this means in practice is still something of an open question. Two recent op-eds have helped me in approaching an answer. In The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Tom Watson celebrates the Ford Foundation’s recently announced commitment … Continue reading

From the Editors

OHSU Meets Knight’s $500 Million Challenge Grant: A Historical Reflection

The big news from Oregon Health and Science University is that they have met Phil Knight’s $500 million challenge grant. To celebrate, take a look at the recent article that Benjamin Soskis, a HistPhil co-editor, wrote for the Chronicle of Philanthropy on the history and contemporary significance of challenge grants. Challenge grants are “in many respects, … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Historical Research

Philanthropic History and a Healthy Heterodoxy

Yesterday, the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s Kevin Bolduc directed our attention to a recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review that he considered “ripe for historical insight.” HistPhil is never one to back away from a challenge—to say nothing of the fact that this was precisely the sort of conversation between historians, practitioners, and … Continue reading