Economics 2004

Philanthropy Project (6-8 pp.)

DUE: Monday, October 25, in class


For the 1st quarter project, we will be learning about Philanthropy. Think of society as a market with consumers and consumer demands (or needs).  Non-profits and grant-giving, philanthropic institutions attempt to supply (or meet) these needs.  In many ways, this project is an examination of a special market and how that market works.  Each student will have to research a non-profit group in-depth to assess the role it plays for our "market" and society's needs.



1. The paper should provide a short history of philanthropy and foundational giving (the library has resources on reserve to help you with this aspect of the project).  Included in this introductory information should be a discussion of what types of institutions (foundations, donor-circles, individuals) give money and a history of those institutions.   

2. The paper should also provide a brief discussion of the different types of grants made and the monitoring the grant-givers do of that money.  Do they really just "give" money? What requirements do donors make regarding their funding?

3. Finally, focus the bulk of the paper on the non-profits.  Each student will have to contact an agency and get to know them. (There will be a list of possible contacts in the library.) Understand that non-profit's needs and the role it (the non-profit) plays in society's larger needs.  What markets does it serve?  What are its costs?  Who benefits?  The discussion of the individual group you choose should be grounded in a recognition of the larger world of non-profits and the roles they fill in society.  At its heart, your paper should address why your group deserves to be funded. 


After you hand in your paper, you will be part of an in-class presentation of our findings.  The goal of this presentation is not only to discuss our findings about the status of philanthropic institutions and non-profit agencies, but also to discuss funding the various projects each student researched (with theoretical funds).  We, as a class, will debate non-profits' merits as well as how the class' "funds" might be protected, augmented, stretched, etc.  Be prepared to defend your findings about your group.


Besides the two books on reserve, the library also will have a series of web-pages related to philanthropy for you to research.  In addition to the library, the class will benefit from coaching by Stephanie Yang of the WomenĠs Foundation in San Francisco and a presentation by Maureen Conway of Hewlett Packard corp.  on corporate giving and market development.



Define and place the entire range of philanthropic activity within the larger context of the U.S. economy

Examine some of the societal issues raised by the relationship between donors and non-profits

Learn some basics about the way philanthropic institutions work and get an introduction to a complex fact of America's financial and social landscape