Large-scale, organized American philanthropy has long been driven by an awareness of racial and economic inequality. From wealthy individuals’ concern about the US South to organized philanthropic engagement with civil rights and social justice issues throughout the twentieth century, these concerns have shaped programs in education, democratic engagement, public health, and beyond.
How did a US foundation manage to work under apartheid?
Philanthropy helped carve out a public space for the expression of race, culture, and critical perspectives.
A foundation struggled to make one of America’s oldest youth organizations more racially inclusive. But it only got so far under Jim Crow.
How a foundation provided the final ingredient to an era-defining novel.
How a charismatic community activist from Watts challenged a foundation’s civil rights strategy through a jobs training program.
How the largest US foundation began supporting market-based projects in the late 1960s.
A college prep program increased admissions rates for at-risk students, but it also raised larger questions about systemic inequality.
How a simple grant request seeded the launch of a full program addressing inequality.
In 1968, the Ford Foundation began to make social investments using a new tool borrowed from the for-profit world, the Program-Related Investment.
In the years before Brown v. Board, a philanthropic fund hoped research and data would turn the tide on attitudes toward segregation.