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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2009 Joel Fleishman (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Any budding philanthropist who aspires to make a better world...should read Joel Fleishman's wise book." ( The Economist)
"[Fleishman] has been engaged in a lifelong 'lover's quarrel' with foundations. His book is a form of tough love." ( The Wall Street Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Patrick T Murphy on 07-22-18

Good insightful book, especially for beginners

I found this book to be a good summary of foundations in the United States. Even though I listened to it about a decade after it's publication, it is still timely (just some of the numbers have changed).
For me, as someone who has worked in the nonprofit sector for about a decade (and at a private foundation for the past two years), I didn't really pick up interest until the last few chapters. Someone less experienced would appreciate the beginning as a good understanding of the history and current state of foundations in society. When the author began discussing more nuanced, opinionated topics, such as the merits of foundation perpetuity, my interest piqued.
I was also happy to hear an overarching criticism of foundation transparency. This is something that does not get much discussion publicly, and I am glad the author addressed it. One decade later, however, the fact that the problem persists only underscores the fact that self-regulation, unfortunately, will not suffice.
The author seemingly has some differing opinions than me as it relates to some topics, and I wish he would give more attention to some counter arguments. Nonetheless, he still presents ideas thoughtfully and with good insights.
The narration can be a tad dry. However, this can also be perhaps because the subject matter is somewhat academic in nature.
Decent book, especially for beginners of understanding the role of foundations and philanthropy in America.

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