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.

Land Law

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

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. 

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. Our newest list of Major Achievements of American Philanthropy highlights education. 

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.

Announcing the 2014 William E. Simon Prize winner

The Philanthropy Roundtable is pleased to announce the selection of Jon Huntsman Sr. as the 2014 recipient of the 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. 

Shifting Perspectives

It was in an attempt to create something positive out of senseless loss that Mark Weingard began to think what he could do to help the people of Bali. His own narrow escapes from fate’s wheel changed his outlook on life and inspired his giving.

Charter School Performance Breakout

"The oft-heard claim that charters perform no better than conventional schools is out of date and inaccurate." In this recent Wall Street Journal article, Karl Zinsmeister explains why today's philanthropy-driven charter school boom may be one of the most important movements of our age. 

The Tough Road to Excellence

What educators abroad have to teach American reformers: Reporter Amanda Ripley argues that the debate on education policy should transcend national boundaries, and that we may want to look to education innovators abroad for ideas and inspiration. 

A Man Out of Time

There was a time, and it wasn’t very long ago, when Ted Turner was America’s most famous living philanthropist. This new “authorized biography” explores how Turner's life has changed, and why his philanthropy is still fascinating.  

Interview with Howard Buffett

In a Q&A, Howard Graham Buffett shows his many hats and his effort to take on hunger. 

Giving Religiously

It is well known that America’s religiosity has a great deal to do with our unusually high levels of giving. A new study shows that 73 percent of the dollars donated by households in the U.S. go to organizations with religious ties.

Letter to the IRS

Adam Meyerson, president of The Philanthropy Roundtable, sent a letter on February 25 to John Koskinen, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, offering comments on the proposed rules for tax-exempt organizations on candidate-related political activity. 

Nonprofit Spotlight

Volunteers in Medicine is recruiting retired doctors to help the poor. 

President’s Note

Even in a time of great national conflict and political divide, there is a constant: Philanthropy does not shut down. The amazing generosity of the American people is not paralyzed. 

Economia!

How Pete Peterson's donations are helping Washington find budget balance.  

Making Forever Families

Churches and donors lift thousands of children out of the foster-care bureaucracy. 

Caring through Community

In this Q&A, The Philanthropy Roundtable asks psychiatric nurse and donor Marlene Mieske about her enthusiastic support of Fountain House, an organization in New York City dedicated to men and women with mental illness.

An Especially Charitable Day

A new annual tradition aims to restore the giving season—bringing donations topping $19 million to charities in just its second year. 

Solving the $2 Trillion Problem

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation mixes research and politics to help solve today's public-pension crisis.  

Philanthropy Keeps the Lights on in Detroit

How philanthropists are tearing down problems, building solutions, and stopping bad guys in the Motor City. 

Almanac

The Almanac
of American
Philanthropy

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