Private foundations have been the dynamo of social change since their invention at the beginning of the last century. Yet just over 10 percent of the public knows they even exist; and for those who are aware of them, as well as even those who seek grants from them, their internal workings remain a complete mystery. Joel Fleishman knows the sector like few others, and in this groundbreaking book he explains both the history of foundations—with their fledgling beginnings in the era of the robber barons seeking social respectability—through to the present day. This book shows how, why foundations matters, and how the future of foundations can provide a vital spur to the engine of the American, and the world's, economy—if they are properly established and run.
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Joel L. Fleishman is Professor of Law and Public Policy at Duke University. From 1993 to 2001, Mr. Fleishman served as President of the Atlantic Philanthropic Service Company, the U.S. affiliate of Atlantic Philanthropies.From Publishers Weekly:
In his first book, law professor and philanthropist Fleishman has created a thoughtful, engrossing, comprehensive guide to the origins, initiatives, successes and failures among the largely unsung 68,000 private foundations in America, which together grant over 32.2 billion tax-exempt dollars per year. Tracing the history of this distinctly American institution, Fleishman considers the philanthropy of such financial titans as Andrew Carnegie, George Soros, Warren Buffett, Michael Milken and Bill Gates. Fleishman's view of the foundation is distinctly favorable: foundations serve a vital social function by providing seed funding to innovative initiatives, having led to such benefits as the 911 emergency response system, the development of the Pap smear, the alleviation of poverty in Bangladesh and the establishment of Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon Universities. Fleishman doe not hestitate, however, to criticize foundations for arrogance, poor planning, unresponsiveness, waste and irresponsibility, using 12 case studies-Rockefeller's Population Council and the Children's Television Workshop among them-to set the stage for "Some Not So Modest Proposals," most of which involve increasing transparency and accountability. Fleishman's efforts prove an illuminating guide to a little-examined aspect of the American tradition.
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