We want to learn about philanthropy’s accomplishments to better understand what great giving looks like.

We believe that philanthropy often operates best on long time horizons, so we especially want to learn from role models whose impact took time to play out.

Aside from the Casebook for The Foundation: A Great American Secret, we’ve found surprisingly little existing literature on the history of philanthropy. In particular, we’ve found few in-depth case studies examining questions like what role philanthropists, compared with other actors, played in bringing important changes to pass.

To help fill that gap, we’ve been commissioning case studies on past philanthropic success stories, with a focus on cases that seem — at first glance — to be strong examples of philanthropy having a major impact on society.

We’ve published a compilation of published case studies and resources here. You can find all of our work on this area here.

Reviewing the history of philanthropy has contributed significantly to our picture of what great giving looks like. For example: 

History of Philanthropy, at a glance

  • 9 case studies commissioned

  • 4 Grants

Sample Grants

Research & Updates