Topic: Economic Inequality

“Without Distinction of Race, Sex, or Creed”: The General Education Board, 1903-1964

In the early 20th century, the General Education Board was devoted to the cause of improving education throughout the United States, without distinction of race, sex, or creed.

A “Constructive and Important Failure”: A Foundation Funds Job Training in the 1970s and 1980s

Prompted by Reagan-era budget cuts, a new program serving low-income single parents receiving public aid failed to meet its constituents’ needs.

Timeline: A Century of American Philanthropy’s Engagement with Race and Racism

Delving into a century of philanthropic engagement with race, from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights era.

Funding a Social Movement: The Ford Foundation and Civil Rights, 1965-1970

A story recounting many accusations, from rigged elections to the meddling of big private money in grassroots organizing.

Black Education and Rockefeller Philanthropy from the Jim Crow South to the Civil Rights Era

Applying a vast fortune to the American race problem, but with decades of false assumptions and well-intended approaches that fell short.

Ted Watkins and the Rockefeller Foundation: An Unlikely Partnership

How a charismatic community activist from Watts challenged a foundation’s civil rights strategy through a jobs training program.

“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.

Elementary children of diverse ethnic backgrounds get ready to go inside their school, two hold hands

Can Data Drive Social Change? Tackling School Segregation with Numbers

In the years before Brown v. Board, a philanthropic fund hoped research and data would turn the tide on attitudes toward segregation.

Supporting Economic Justice? The Ford Foundation’s 1968 Experiment in Program Related Investments

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