The Slow Boat to Utopia

Ten years in, the ballyhooed Millennium Villages Project is mostly a bust. In Nina Munk’s book The Idealist, Columbia University economist and celebrity academic Jeffrey Sachs, who made a splash with his plan to engineer the end of poverty as we know it, is an ambivalent figure.

Horizon Communities in Prisons

Inmates change their lives with great works of literature. 

Heartland Art

A new exhibit at Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum showcases the full range of American artistry. 

Save the Pawns

Morally neutral approaches to poverty do not exist,” William Easterly writes in his latest book, The Tyranny of Experts. “Any approach to development will either respect the rights of the poor or it will violate them.” Too many aid agencies treat people in developing countries like chess pieces. 

Port in a Storm

When a disaster hits, Americans are eager to open their wallets to help. Yet donors often have no clear idea of what happens to their contributions or whether they are used in the best ways possible. 

Agenda Setting: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Influencing Public Policy

Our newest guidebook helps donors navigate the public-policy arena, drawing on the best practitioners of public-policy philanthropy in America today. 

Interview with Steve Green

The Hobby Lobby president describes his forthcoming Museum of the Bible. 

The Dinosaur Discoverer

How a misfit revolutionized paleontology—with a big boost from philanthropy. 

A Tribute to Life

With major support from Tad Taube, the Polin Museum honors a millennium of Jewish history. 

Words from a Leading Culture Philanthropist

A Q&A with museum donor Shelby White. 

Church Tax

Since 2012, Germany has made giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s, a legal mandate. A new twist to the law has banks actively investigating the religious affiliations of their customers in order to levy the corresponding tax on their accounts.

Major Achievements in Public-Policy Reform

Donating money to modify public thinking and government policy has now taken its place next to service-centered giving as a constructive branch of philanthropy. In our newest Almanac of American Philanthropy list we examine major achievements in shaping public policy. 

Laying Away Treasure

Many Americans were charmed when, a couple weeks before Christmas, an anonymous lady walked into a Toys R Us store in Bellingham, Massachusetts, and paid off the remaining layaway balances of 150 families.

Patriots and Papers

Philanthropists fulfill George Washington's dying wish and build a Presidential library at his Mount Vernon home.

President’s Note

Restoring the American Dream in 2015—For over three centuries, America has provided more opportunity to more people than any other country in the history of the world. That great tradition is now in danger.

Philanthropy’s Dangerous Rival

The clamor for limitless government threatens every private initiative. 

The Power of Ownership

Fighting poverty from the ground up. 

Just-released Winter magazine

Museum donors bring alive math, baseball, George Washington, tenements, the Bible, music, Jewish life, heartland art, and more. 

Museums Across America

A creative cornucopia of galleries from math to space to baseball is brought to the public by the generosity of donors. 

Monks in the Inner City

Most of Newark, New Jersey, students never even finish high school. But St. Benedict’s Prep, a 146-year-old school serving 550 low-income minority boys, boasts a nearly 100 percent college acceptance rate. And it’s run by monks.

College Endowment Disparities

A recent study by the Sutton Trust reveals that university endowments in the U.K. badly lag U.S. counterparts, and that the fundraising gap is widening. Harvard’s endowment alone is more than the total of all U.K. universities combined. 

Interview with Christopher Oechsli

The president of Atlantic Philanthropies reflects on Chuck Feeney's legendary generosity, the value of bricks-and-mortar giving, and how to recover donor intent. 

Personal Giving

An anonymous animal lover donated $800,000 to Zoo Miami during his lifetime. "Two of the dearest" philanthropists in south Florida, once anonymous, now have their story told. 

Q & A with a Mad Woman

An interview with advertiser extraordinaire turned philanthropic organizer Myra Daniels. 

Mutual Aid for Christians in Iraq

Iraq's second largest city is home to many minorities, including hundreds of thousands of Assyrian Christians. About 200,000 Assyrians have now fled their homes. Amidst crisis in Mosul, a small mutual-aid group is offering lifesaving help.

Four Brothers and the Apocalypse

Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynastya surprising biography of the Koch family that offers a fascinating window into their life and philanthropy. 

No Good Donation Goes Un-Sniped At

The Philanthropy Roundtable's Joanne Florino responds to a New York Times opinion essay worrying over the private philanthropy behind New York's planned Pier 55 park. 

The Center for Urban Families

The Center for Urban Families is helping fathers step up.

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? 

Drug Donors

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

Beethoven in the Barrio

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

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.


The Almanac
of American

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