Excellence in Philanthropy
The Granite Giver
An interview with Sir Ian Wood on his work in Africa, his plans for the future, and the state of Scottish philanthropy
American History’s Great Philanthropists
The Roundtable is pleased to present the inaugural class of the new Philanthropy Hall of Fame.
From Driehaus to Our House
A Chicago donor reintroduces timeless principles of proportion, harmony, and visual delight into America’s public spaces.
They Shall Overcome
Meet the K–12 reform donors who strategically balance charitable giving, legislative advocacy, and direct political engagement. Philanthropy editor-in-chief Christopher Levenick reports in this cover story from our Spring issue on K-12 giving.
William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership
The William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership honors living philanthropists who have shown exemplary leadership through their charitable giving. Read more about the Simon prize and past winners here.
Interview with Eli Broad, the Investor
When it comes to re-imagining how America's children can learn, Eli and Edythe Broad are among the nation's most visionary philanthropists. Their investments range across the full spectrum of educational reform, from advocacy to personnel to technology. Take a look at our interview with Broad, in which he details progress on his efforts to dramatically improve American K–12 education.
The Granite Giver
Scottish philanthropist Sir Ian Wood speaks with “Philanthropy” about his work in Africa, the state of Scottish philanthropy, some philanthropic disappointments, and his plans for the future.
American History’s Great Philanthropists
Who were the greatest philanthropists of American history? After studying hundreds of individuals, carefully reviewing their achievements, we are pleased to present the inaugural class of the Philanthropy Hall of Fame. This list isn’t the final word on the greatest philanthropists in American history, nor does it intend to be. Think of it instead as a starting point for discussion—and, we hope, a source of inspiration.
The Rockefeller Legacy
John D. Rockefeller Sr. established the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913. In this, the year of its centennial, it's worth remembering what its founder achieved within the 97 years of his own life.
Rockefeller’s Other Pipeline
John D. Rockefeller is arguably history’s single greatest funder of biomedical research. Review the remarkable legacy of his foundation here in our original research on Rockefeller-funded Nobel laureates.
Tom Tierney’s “Conversations with Remarkable Givers”
Bridgespan president Thomas Tierney recently spoke with Philanthropy about Bridgespan’s new series of candid video interviews, “Conversations with Remarkable Givers.”
Imperial Might vs. Widow’s Mite
Peter Brown’s latest work explores how the emergence of Christian philanthropy changed world history. Read Evan Sparks’ review of “Through the Eye of a Needle”.
Parenting the Privileged
Greatness in business, like greatness in philanthropy, does not always translate into greatness at parenting. Kay S. Hymowitz addresses how some parents are using philanthropy to mitigate the harm that growing up wealthy can do to their children.
Bernie Marcus has dedicated his life to helping people “do it yourself.” He co-founded the Home Depot in 1978, making a fortune by serving the American spirit of self-sufficiency. Today, he’s working to build nonprofits to the point where they no longer need his support. Read our profile of Bernie Marcus, winner of the 2012 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, by Weekly Standard senior editor Andrew Ferguson.
Winner of the 2012 William E. Simon Prize
The Philanthropy Roundtable recently presented Bernie Marcus with the William E. Simon Prize at our Annual Meeting in Palm Beach. Click here to learn more about Mr. Marcus and his philanthropy and to watch a special video honoring him at the 2012 Annual Meeting.
Philanthropy on the Green
In cities from New York to San Diego, private donors have been integral to revitalizing public parks. Whether the park is beyond repair and requires an intervention, or whether it just needs a boost of philanthropic vision, or even if a city needs lots of new park space—private philanthropy is bringing top-notch management to America’s great urban parks. Evan Sparks reports on these donors here.
From Driehaus to Our House
The elegant classicism of the National Mall has long been a proper tribute to the great heroes of the republic. But a proliferation of new monuments has disrupted the Mall’s architectural harmony. When the proposed Dwight Eisenhower Memorial threatened to add yet more postmodern sprawl, Richard Driehaus pushed back. Click here to read a profile by the New Criterion’s James Panero.
A Welfare System That Works
Welfare, it is sometimes said, can only be effectively administered by the government. Charitable groups are too small, too disjointed, and too parochial to ever provide an adequate social safety net. Not so fast. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints runs a vast and effective social welfare system. Read Naomi Schaefer Riley’s article on a how private individuals can administer a large-scale welfare system—that works.
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Houston is one of America’s most generous cities. Civic-minded business leaders, strong churches, and an entrepreneurial culture have combined to create the Texas Medical Center. Home to some of the world’s leading hospitals and research clinics, the TMC is now the size of a small (and growing) city. And it all came into being through private, voluntary initiative. Noted geographer Joel Kotkin explores this Texas-sized generosity here.
Adrienne Arsht goes her own way. In philanthropy, as in business, she chooses causes based on what intrigues and captivates her. Ms. Arsht recently spoke with Philanthropy magazine about what motivates her giving.
The Fearless Philanthropist
Jon Huntsman Sr. has never shied away from outsized risks. Though his legendary courage was sorely tested when he learned he had prostate cancer, Huntsman responded in characteristic fashion. He doubled down and committed to building a top-flight research and treatment facility in his hometown of Salt Lake City. Editor-in-chief Christopher Levenick reports on Huntsman’s tireless efforts to treat and cure cancer.
The Team Builder
David Koch captained one of the greatest basketball squads ever to play for MIT. Today he’s leading another MIT team—one that’s trying to beat cancer. In this special profile from the Summer issue, managing editor Evan Sparks sits down with the man who has become a driving force in medical research philanthropy.
In business and philanthropy, Michael Milken has found ways to drive capital to promising upstarts and get them moving. Not one to waste time, Milken has transformed the landscape of prostate cancer research through his strategic approach to funding, and he continues to be a leading figure in changing the way medical research is advanced.
Hope for the Addicted
Drugs are a cancer on American society. They debilitate individual lives—harming families, schools, workplaces, and communities. So why is funding for substance abuse recovery rarely talked about and highlighted in the philanthropic community? Contributing editor Tom Riley explores the stigmas behind drug addiction, as well as the different initiatives underway to curb this plague.
Eli Broad sits down with “Philanthropy” magazine to discuss his giving to medical research, modern art, and K–12 education.
Philanthropy can play a distinct and effective role in medical research. Donors are investigating unconventional hypotheses, fostering collaboration among researchers, and accelerating the move from lab to market, as this cover story from the Winter 2010 issue of Philanthropy magazine makes clear.
Great military leaders. That’s not the only thing that donors to West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs get for their money. Karl Zinsmeister asks philanthropists what they hope to encourage by sending private support to these public institutions.
Seven Myths about the Great Philanthropists
Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and their contemporaries are among the greatest and most misunderstood philanthropists of modern times. Far from being robber barons, they inaugurated a golden age of American philanthropy at the turn of the 20th century. The achievements of these great business leaders are often unfairly maligned. It is time to set the record straight.
It is remarkable that, in survey after survey, at least 10 of the world’s 20 best universities bear the names of private American citizens who have used their wealth to create world-class institutions of higher learning. Private, voluntary support has long been a source of great strength for American higher education. In our Spring 2012 cover story, managing editor Evan Sparks highlights three donors and the universities they recently created: the F. W. Olin College of Engineering, Ave Maria University, and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
Educating a Nation
Juan Williams of Fox News reviews a new book on the historic collaboration between Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington. Together, the two men—one the leader of Sears Roebuck; the other, a former slave—built more than 5,000 schools for African Americans throughout the segregated South. Read Williams’ review of “You Need a Schoolhouse” by Stephanie Deutsch.
Interview with Andrew Grove
Andrew Grove is angry with philanthropy, and he thinks other donors should be angrier too. The former CEO of Intel uses his anger to fuel his giving, and he recently spoke with ‘Philanthropy’ about his work in vocational education, American philanthropy—and other things that make him angry.
Our cover story is a profile of Charles G. Koch, winner of the 2011 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. There is an essential unity to Mr. Koch's life, work, and philanthropy. All three are born of his trademarked business philosophy, Market-Based Management, which harnesses the forces that allow free markets to flourish and applies them to individual groups. Those principles have helped make Koch Industries the second-largest privately held corporation in America—and led to the creation of (among others) the Institute for Humane Studies, the Cato Institute, the Mercatus Center, Youth Entrepreneurs, the Bill of Rights Institute, and the Koch Associate Program. Read James K. Glassman's article on Mr. Koch here.
The Business of Big Ideas
Meet Roger Hertog, winner of the 2010 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. A pioneer in the investment research industry, Hertog now funds think tanks, journals, summer programs, university centers, historical inquiry, and investigations into Jewish thought. As a believer in the power of ideas, he describes his philanthropic approach as “a supply-side vision of intellectual capitalism.”
Back to the Drawing Board
Jeff Sandefer is on a mission to reinvent the MBA. A decade ago, he co-founded the Acton School of Business, which offers a crash-course MBA in entrepreneurship. After its first year, the Princeton Review ranked Acton as one of the nation’s top three business schools in terms of student quality, teacher quality, and overall experience. Ten years later, Sandefer is thinking about the next revolution: how to take the Acton experience and deliver it online.
Lending a Hand
Dale Dawson is helping rebuild Rwanda, one small loan at a time. It all started a decade ago when a Rwandan Anglican bishop challenged Dawson: “You’re a businessman. You’ve built businesses. Why don’t you build businesses in Rwanda?” Since then, Dawson has dedicated his life to helping impoverished Rwandans save money and pursue entrepreneurship.
Stopping the Slaughter
Meet the philanthropist who is protecting Africans from Joseph Kony. Our exclusive story describes how Houston investor John Montgomery is pursuing an audacious goal for private philanthropy: Ending genocide.
What Makes International Philanthropy Work?
Michael Fairbanks, an expert on enterprise-based solutions to poverty in the developing world, interviewed some of the planet’s leading thinkers and practitioners about what makes international philanthropy work. Take a look at what they had to say here.
Symposium on International Giving
As part of Philanthropy’s forthcoming special issue on global giving, we invited some of America’s leading international donors and development experts to respond to three questions. Jean Case, Bill Frist, Steven M. Hilton, Lynn Schusterman, Ed Scott, Tad Taube, David Weekley, and more weigh in.
Summa Cum Philanthropy
Giving to universities can be tricky. They are complicated entities, with a range of (often conflicting) missions. Donor advisor Fred Fransen offers 11 tips for how to give intelligently to higher education.
Innovation for the Real World
“Desh” Deshpande is bringing the market to MIT’s labs. With a $20 million donation, he created the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation to connect researchers with entrepreneurs, thereby finding the best (and most profitable) applications for the new technologies. It’s all part of Deshpande’s effort, write Michael Bishop and Matthew Green, to take great ideas out of the ivory towers and bring them into the real world.
You could travel the world in search of the rarest biblical artifacts and manuscripts—or, more simply, you could visit Oklahoma City. There Hobby Lobby founder David Green and his family have assembled an unrivaled collection of biblical artifacts and scriptural antiquities. Thanks to the Green family, the city will soon be home to a world-class museum of the Bible—the first of its kind in the country.
A Federalist Solution
“The best money we ever spent.” That’s how Irving Kristol describes the original funding for the Federalist Society, the now three-decade-old organization for law students and lawyers. Today, donors are working to create three new organizations—in medicine, business, and national security—based on the same model.
Robert Rosenkranz was frustrated by the echo chambers he found among people on both right and left. His idea: elevated, erudite debates between two evenly matched sides. The result: Intelligence Squared, a high-quality debate series in which the two sides try to persuade the audience—not grandstand for those who already agree with them.
Crafting a Better Legal Code
A number of donors are working to build a legal environment that is free, fair, and better for business. As they work to simplify and reform the law, their goal is to untangle the legal mess that prevents some private initiatives from even getting off the ground. Philip Howard's group the Common Good and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation are leading the way in reforming the system and training up the next generation of intellectual leaders in order to bring about systemic change.
Meet the donors who are working to ensure that students today appreciate the benefits of free enterprise tomorrow. Philanthropists like John Allison, Marilyn Fedak, Bernie Marcus, and Robert and Patricia Kern are hoping to make a case for the rightness of the free enterprise system by sponsoring programs to teach the moral benefits of free markets on colleges nationwide.
Philanthropy on Campus
Private support for higher education is one of the great achievements of American philanthropy. Check out the Spring 2012 issue of Philanthropy magazine dedicated to donors advancing higher education through their giving and browse this special collection of higher education features from our archives.
Ira Fulton is working to change popular culture, one animated feature at a time. When the Arizona homebuilder provided Brigham Young University with a suite of five supercomputers, nobody knew quite what to expect. Few would have predicted that within a decade, Pixar president Ed Catmull would say, “BYU has risen to the top.”
Racing for the Cure
Nancy Brinker spoke with Philanthropy magazine last fall about her urgent mission to end breast cancer. Driven by a promise made to her sister, Susan G. Komen, Amb. Brinker launched a worldwide movement to fight breast cancer through research, education, screening, and prevention. Read more about her mission and her race against the clock.
Unto the Nations
Despite the economic downturn, charity and mission work is thriving in the developing world thanks to committed givers. In the Winter 2012 issue of Philanthropy magazine, Karl Zinsmeister looks at how evangelicals are focusing their time, treasure, and talent overseas. What does this renewed focus on international missions mean for the world? And for America?
How does an entire city become an art gallery? John Miller visited Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Rick DeVos’ ArtPrize is helping artists and patrons to share and experience art in a new, accessible way. Learn how DeVos brought the arts to his hometown and created a new model in prize philanthropy.
Symposium on Giving to Arts and Culture
What are the secrets of excellent giving to the arts? America’s top arts donors—including Adrienne Arsht, David Bohnett, Jay Kislak, David Koch, and Laurie Tisch—reveal what donors don’t know about giving to the arts, their favorite hidden gems, and how to make a really smart grant to the arts.
Random Acts of Culture
Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself amidst an impromptu performance from La Traviata on your next trip to the shopping mall. You may have just experienced a Random Act of Culture, brought to you by the Knight Foundation. Across the country, unassuming venues are playing host to these special pop-up performances as the Knight Foundation brings artists out of concert halls and into people’s daily lives.
The Milk Man
Nathan Straus is one of America’s great, and unjustly neglected, philanthropists. At the dawn of the 20th century, he spent down a fortune championing what is now a largely forgotten cause: safe milk. Though his efforts were resisted by the dairy industry and well-meaning elites, Straus persisted—and his efforts saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.