People & Projects

Diverse giving from different donors

A recent Washington Post article criticizes the giving of wealthy Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. But their research misunderstands philanthropy.

Philanthropy and the common good at Notre Dame

A course at the University of Notre Dame—made possible by the Philanthropy Lab—gives undergraduates the opportunity to make up to $85,000 in grants to nonprofits. Here’s how the process went.


COVID-19, lean philanthropy
How “lean philanthropy” responds to COVID-19

Exponent Philanthropy surveyed its network of “lean funders” to see how they are responding to COVID-19. Much of it is good, another example of donors shifting in ways that will be valuable beyond the pandemic.

Dian Graves Owen: exemplary generosity

The Foundation for Economic Education recently released a short film about the life and philanthropy of Dian Graves Owen. Hers is story of grit and hard work, culminating in exemplary philanthropy.


steve jobs bill gates education and philanthropy
Why Steve Jobs, not Bill Gates, was the true education visionary

Apple’s visionary motto of “Think Different” challenges the status quo, while Microsoft’s “Empowering Us All” may just capture the next incremental change on a well-trodden path.

rockefeller foundation global issues human suffering
Puzzles, mysteries, and global issues

The Rockefeller Foundation has new plan to “solve global issues.” But is leveraging “expertise” really the best way to address human suffering?


chronicle of philanthropy john hollingsworth
Real charity from a generous South Carolina donor

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports on an “unlikely donor.” John Hollingsworth is an admirable donor, committed to generously serving his hometown.

bernie sanders campaign using belongingness to raise money
Bernie Sanders’ victory is due to his strategy to motivate “belongingness”

Bernie Sanders is fighting an uphill battle to emerge as the Democratic frontrunner. His trick is cultivating a sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself.


the pollination project is using micro-granting
Is micro-granting the future of philanthropy?

Micro-granting provides an exciting way forward for philanthropy: supporting unlikely grantees at low-levels to have major impact in communities.

jeffrey epstein dirty money MIT
Dirty donors: what to do with questionable money?

Frequently in 2019 we raised the question about what to do with grants from questionable individuals and organizations. Jeffrey Epstein was by far the worst example—but should we have a system to assess donors?




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