Stories from the History of American Philanthropy
Welcome to RE:source, the Rockefeller Archive Center‘s storytelling platform. We are a team of historians, archivists, and educators working from the idea that philanthropy has impact on everyday life, sometimes in ways that many of us don’t realize.
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Orson Welles’s 1938 radio performance of The War of the Worlds prompted a foundation to explore issues of media literacy and fake news.
Philanthropy and Political Discord
When the restrictive military regime that had taken power in Brazil in 1964 became even more repressive by 1969, staffers at the Ford Foundation found themselves facing a conundrum.
What happened to a massive agricultural development program when war broke out?
When a friendly interaction unexpectedly emerged between American and Chinese table tennis players, one nonprofit seized the opportunity to support broader cultural diplomacy.
New Research: Economic Research, Grantmaking in Colombia, Feeding India, and Near East Rural Education
In this month’s edition of the series, the authors have used the records of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller, and the Near East Foundation.
Toward Education Equality?
Applying a vast fortune to the American race problem, but with decades of false assumptions and well-intended approaches that fell short.
In the years before Brown v. Board, a philanthropic fund hoped research and data would turn the tide on attitudes toward segregation.
A college prep program increased admissions rates for at-risk students, but it also raised larger questions about systemic inequality.
How philanthropy helped carve out a public space for the expression of race, culture, and critical perspectives.
Epidemics, Vaccines, and Public Health
Century-old tips to prevent infection still make sense today.
An innovative nursing program gathered crucial data and brought healthcare to needy families, but ultimately lost its way.
A hundred years ago, hookworm disease was an epidemic across the US South. Northern philanthropy tried to help.
Public Spaces, Private Money
The nation’s parks, perhaps our most remarkable public resource, have a history of development through private giving.
Does philanthropy always require a perfect partnership to create something great? Peering behind the facade of The Met Cloisters museum reveals that the answer is sometimes “no.”