Money to Burn: Great American Foundations and Their Money

1st Edition

Horace Coon

Routledge
Published March 31, 1990
Reference - 393 Pages
ISBN 9780887383342 - CAT# Y350701

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Summary

Originally published in 1938, this is a classic muckraking account of the role of philanthropic foundations. Horace Coon's journalistic indictment of the state of philanthropy in the 1920s and 1930s emphasizes how great wealth perpetuates itself through the mechanism of the foundation.Coon looks at how foundations influence education and public thinking, the extent to which they support scientific, medical, and social science research, and their financial operations. But Money to Burn is more than an example of what we today would call investigative journalism. It is also one of the first serious efforts to describe the history of modern American philanthropy. Coon discusses the origins of philanthropic foundations in Western history and the establishment of the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations, reviews the founders' motives, and launches a biting critique in the context of the economic disaster of the Great Depression. He grapples with the concept of the foundation as a "semi-public institution" that links political, economic, and public concerns, and he questions what degree of accountability to the public is appropriate.While Coon's interpretive criticism of the American philanthropic foundations reflects the political and economic concerns of the late 1930s, it stays honestly close to the facts. Money to Burn can be read profitably today as both a good general history of the emergence of modern American philanthropy and as an example of the public's concern with concentration of money and power at the end of the 1930s. Money to Burn, another volume in the Philanthropy in Society series, will be of interest to social scientists, philanthropists, public policy analysts, and decision makers interested in the role of the voluntary sector in American society.

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