Interview with Howard Dahl

The founder of Amity Technology discusses his giving to rehabilitate the former Soviet Union and assesses Ukraine.

Don’t Surrender the Academy

To the chagrin of reformers, the way that it stands 'blowing up' our existing schools of education is just not a viable option: The case for donors to get involved with schools of education. 

Champion Givers

A 15-year update on the winners of the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. 

Beyond the Uniform

In this video, veterans Jake Wood of Team Rubicon and Eric Greitens of The Mission Continues share their experiences with the military and their goals for veterans philanthropy.

The Tangelo Park Model for Transforming a Troubled Neighborhood

A Q&A with Florida hotelier and philanthropist Harris Rosen.

Suing for Reform

An education donor went to court; will other givers and other causes follow? 

Beethoven in the Barrio

The Youth Orchestra of the Americas is bringing symphonic beauty to new audience, thanks to Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg

Drug Donors

While some philanthropists fought for decades to legalize marijuana, others are gearing up to address the undesirable consequences. 

On Creating Productive Work for the Persistently Jobless

George Roberts is co-founder of the KKR leveraged buyout firm, and an active philanthropist with a special interest in building social enterprises. Following is a brief extract interview from our forthcoming book on assisting work as an anti-poverty charitable strategy. 

Shaping Policy and Culture

The Fall 2014 issue of Philanthropy features articles on giving that changes society: The donor-funded lawsuit that overturned teacher tenure. New grants that try to balance prior philanthropy pushing pot legalization. Giving that supports faith in the next generation of college students. And a decade-and-a-half of social change by winners of the William E. Simon Prize.

DAFs: Popular Yet Under Pressure

Donor-advised funds are mushrooming. Their popularity is easy to understand: Many small donors appreciate having access to professionally managed philanthropic funds that still allow for donor choices, without the hassle and staff of an entire foundation. But legislation proposed in Congress could threaten the funds’ appeal. 

Achievements in Economic & Social Prosperity

Fighting poverty is one of the oldest charitable imperatives. This in turn often requires battling syndromes that lead to poverty—like family breakdown, alcohol and drug abuse, or unfair bias. Our newest list of Achievements in American Philanthropy collects initiatives that help citizens prosper. 

So-called ‘Dark Money’

In an editorial published September 24 by the National Review Online, Bill Zeiser, a Ph.D. student at Hillsdale College, takes on the task of explaining the critical role of anonymous giving to philanthropic privacy. 

Walk the Line

Rail trails are generating public enthusiasm as rural paths, as creators of green space in tight urban quarters, as ways of boosting health and wellness, as canvases for appealing landscape design and outdoor art, as connectors of communities, and as spurs to city redevelopment.

Chopping Textbook Costs

College textbooks are notoriously expensive, but a two-year-old nonprofit is hoping to change that. OpenStax College's goal is to offer texts for the nation’s 25 most-attended college courses—for free. 

Eyes on Ospreys

Twenty years ago, D.C.'s Anacostia River had few fish and no ospreys—the big, yellow-eyed fishing birds that often thrill waterside observers. But thanks to local D.C. philanthropy the ospreys are returning to the area, and we're learning more about them. 

Land Law

A landmark ruling in May could have nationwide consequences for the future of American conservation.

Nonprofit Spotlight: Living Lands & Waters

An award-winning nonprofit leader is hauling junk out of our grimiest rivers.

Remarkable Achievements in Education Philanthropy

More philanthropic donations are channeled into education than to any other sector of American society except religion. This list of Major Achievements of American Philanthropy highlights education. 

Nature Philanthropy

When you think of parks, whether Yosemite or your corner playground, you probably think of them as quintessentially public institutions—as the Ken Burns documentary puts it, “America’s best idea.” And while parks are indeed public institutions, a great many owe their existence, growth, and endurance to the generosity of creative donors.

Hilton Foundation’s $1.5 million Prize

Every year, the Conrad Hilton Foundation awards a $1.5 million humanitarian prize to an organization that is alleviating human suffering. The 2014 winner, Fountain House, brings mentally-ill individuals together in social networks that reinforce good citizenship and independence, and was profiled in a recent Philanthropy Roundtable Q&A. The foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2015 prize.

Gas Heat

A small foundation uses focused academic, media, and activist grants to redirect a policy debate.

School Magic

Since 1998, 139,000 students have had their life courses altered by the Children’s Scholarship Fund, a program created by donors. In her new book Opportunity and Hope, Naomi Schaefer Riley brings us the stories of ten of the students who benefited from this effort.

Philanthropy’s Toehold in China

Though China is home to an estimated 358 billionaires, exactly none have signed the Giving Pledge. But views on charity in China may be evolving.

Interview with Terry and Mary Kohler

The donor couple discusses rescuing cranes and swans, counseling couples, painting Wisconsin red, and more.

A Path to Human Success…

In a Q&A, philanthropist Joe Woodford reflects on his efforts to bring entrepreneurship to his Colorado community.

Failing One’s Way to Success

The Up Side of Down offers a candid reckoning of how badly things really can go wrong, and a field guide to why and how “failure can be the best thing that ever happened to you (though it may sometimes feel like the worst).”

Reflections of a Rockefeller

Industrial titan John Rockefeller is an American icon for wealth, fame, and power. His great-granddaughter Eileen currently lives a modest life on a Vermont farm. How she reconciled these two existences is the subject of her new memoir.

Sharing Health

Today’s health-care sharing organizations, for the most part, were founded by people who wanted to pool medical bills with like-minded religious believers, putting their trust in faith communities rather than government or insurance companies. 

Work vs. Poverty

At The Philanthropy Roundtable’s recent event “Getting America Back to Work,” donors discussed the importance—and challenges—of expanding work among the poor.

New Balance

Training the next generation of conservative journalists. 

Interview with Gerry Lenfest

Gerry Lenfest reflects on $1.2 billion of personal giving. 

Faithful Giving

The latest social science has good news for philanthropists: Giving profits the giver as well as the receiver. This win-win verdict is actually nothing new. It is a central tenet of the three Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—as a new book by Gary Anderson makes clear.

Investigative Philanthropy?

Local news and research journalism as charity causes. 

Alignment of the Stars

Celebrity philanthropy, even if well-meaning, can be rich with pratfalls and posturing. Brad Pitt and Scarlett Johansson are just two illustrations of the classic aphorism that good intentions aren’t enough to solve problems.

Wielding the Profit Motive Against Poverty

In The Business Solution to Poverty, entrepreneur Paul Polak and marketing guru Mal Warwick turn development upside down by suggesting that multinational businesses shouldn’t think of the poor as victims, but rather as potential customers. 

Charity TV

A California philanthropy and a television station join forces to stimulate giving.

Cycle of Hope

When filmmakers came to Texas health care executive Jon Halbert to pitch a documentary about an unlikely cycling team in genocide-riven Rwanda, he and his wife Linda were hooked.

Profit and the Free Press

An ink-stained veteran doubts that philanthropy can solve today's crisis in journalism.  

Giving It All

Alan Barnhart and his brother Eric owned a $250 million company. Owned. Past tense. Because they gave it away. 

100 Years of Experts Armed with Money…

...sure didn't do much for Cleveland. Community foundations at a milestone.

Excellent Educators: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Cultivating Great Teachers and Principals

The strongest influence on whether a student learns (and how much) is the teacher. This new guidebook by Laura Vanderkam explains if we want to improve schools, we must raise the quality of teachers.

Nature Philanthropy Achievements

Many of America’s most iconic natural attractions are the products of philanthropy. This list of Major Achievements of American Philanthropy highlights Nature, Animals, and Parks. 

Building Religion IQ in Reporters

A donor-funded conference educates the media on faith. 

From Promising to Proven: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Expanding on the Success of Charter Schools

Charter schooling may be the most important social innovation of our age, and it is just beginning to bloom. This new guidebook provides facts, examples, and practical experience that donors will need as charter schooling shifts gears from promising experiment to mainstream movement.

Politics and Education Reform

When Bill Gates spoke at the American Enterprise Institute in March, he noted that money alone cannot fix education woes. Having realized this, the Gates Foundation spent three years looking closely at the mechanics of teaching.

From Promising to Proven

The charter school boom ahead. 

Lifesaving Charity

Eliminating hookworm in the South. Discovering the flu virus. Decimating HIV’s death rate. These are just a handful of the many notable achievements in medicine that owe their success to the generosity of American philanthropists.

Honoring the 2014 William E. Simon Prize winner

Jon Huntsman Sr. was awarded the 2014 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership

An Ugly Parks Plan

If New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, gets his way, the Big Apple will undo one of the most successful philanthropic experiments of the past three decades: transforming Central Park from decaying and dangerous to vibrant and verdant in just a few short years. 


The Almanac
of American

A compendium of the Great Donors, Great Achievements, Great Ideas, and Latest Facts on private giving in the U.S.