This course aims to introduce students to the critical role played by U.S. foundations on public policy issues and in American society generally.
The manner in which the U.S. tax laws encourage charitable giving has had a significant impact on civil society and social welfare. A number of initiatives, including not only leading scholarly and medical advances but public television, rban renewal, school vouchers and the modern human rights and women’s rights movements, owe much to the support provided by foundations.
The course will review this history of charitable giving in the U.S., with particular emphasis on the foundations emerging in the first half of the 20th century from the great American fortunes (Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford) and those coming to prominence around the turn of the last century (Gates, Soros). The role of conservative foundations in laying an intellectual and policy framework for the eagan and Bush presidencies and the Giuliani mayoralty in New York will also be examined.
Classes will be devoted to a number of key topics, including government regulation and media scrutiny of foundations, corporate philanthropy and family foundations, and criticism of philanthropic practice from the left and the right. Philanthropic practice in other democracies will also be examined, along with in‐depth looks at several foundations and philanthropic initiatives.