People & Projects

The Kochs and the Pews

Similarities and differences between the two philanthropic brother duos.

Newly unearthed documents reveal heiress Cordelia Scaife May’s philanthropic legacy

The legacy of a mid-century environmentalist socialite whose laser-focused philanthropy helped sow the seeds of anti-immigration policy


Legal battle over Kurtis Froedtert’s wishes, a warning to donors everywhere

A legal battle developing in Milwaukee over the wishes of philanthropist Kurtis Froedtert ought to remind donors everywhere to be very careful in how their wills are phrased.

400 years of black giving: From the days of slavery to the 2019 Morehouse graduation

Billionaire Robert F. Smith made a big splash when he told Morehouse grads he would pay off their student debt. Yet his generosity adheres to a long African American tradition.


T. Boone Pickens dies at 91, and the response is encouraging

As the public and the media respond to the passing of T. Boone Pickens, it is interesting to reflect on his broad and generous giving, and how this conduces to a healthy civil society.

love and philanthropy effective altruism
Breaking news: we are not attracted to effective altruists

A study conducted at the Crockett Lab at Yale University suggests that in our search for spouses and friends, we rather distrust utilitarians.


strategic philanthropy and social change
Nudging, Incentivizing, and Penalizing: A Review of “Money Well Spent”

In “Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy” authors Paul Brest and Hal Harvey offer a vision of strategic philanthropy that is more concerned with social change than selfless love.

james b simons billionaire mega donor active philanthropy
A look at how one mega-donor chooses to be actively involved in his giving

Billionaire donor James Simons is an interesting example of active and engaged philanthropy: a mathematician actively involved in advancing research through his Institute.


bill and melinda gates foundation billionaire philanthropy
My students see giving money away as a good thing but they’re getting leery of billionaire donors

People are growing wary of billionaire donors and their outsized influence in civil society and the nonprofit sector. The author looks at objections to, and defenses of, billionaire philanthropy, showing the complexity of giving.

The real story behind Alabama’s return of $26m gift to law school donor

Donors and colleges can learn a few things from this philanthropic kerfuffle.




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