Location: United States

“Investment Philanthropy” Investing for Social Good, a Century Ago

An early twentieth-century foundation tried using its endowment to support for-profit projects that also would achieve a social goal.

Photo Essay: Supporting Minority Enterprise in the late 1960s

In 1968, the Ford Foundation began to make social investments using a new tool borrowed from the for-profit world, the Program-Related Investment.

The “Insulin Gift”

In 1923, a wealthy philanthropist’s funding helped make life-saving treatment for diabetes available to patients and doctors.

Insanity Defense illustration in Harper's Weekly, February 27, 1859. Library of Congress.

The Commonwealth Fund and the “Insanity Defense”: Unexpected Outcomes

Our understanding of the insanity defense relies on a book that was an unintended outcome of a Commonwealth Fund grant.

The Birth of the Modern MBA

Why would an American foundation transform the field of business education?

Ping-Pong Diplomacy: NGOs and International Relations

When a friendly interaction unexpectedly emerged between American and Chinese table tennis players, one nonprofit seized the opportunity to support broader cultural diplomacy.

Supporting Economic Justice? Ford’s 1968 PRI Experiment

How the largest US foundation began supporting market-based projects in the late 1960s.