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OCAN 2055 - Discovering Philanthropy, Discovering America

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 42

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies



Course Description

In the context of global challenges, diminishing resources and changing roles of government and citizens, an essential question needs to be explored: who is the steward of the common good? The course explore this issue through a focus on the development of philanthropy and civic engagement in the United States: how it evolved, what it is today and how it reflects the founding principles of this nation and how European countries and the US diverge and converge? The course will define the philanthropy landscape: actors, institutions, infrastructure, emerging trends in philanthropy and social investment, debates around strategic philanthropy and evaluation, the impact of US philanthropy in the US and globally. It combines theory and practice, academic knowledge, case studies and exchanges with expert practioners, academics, foundation officers' entrepreneurs, philanthropists, investment advisors.

Objective of the course:
The objective of the course is to improve understanding of not only the role of philanthropy in the United States, but how civic engagement and philanthropy reflect the founding principles of the nation and the values of its citizens. It will look at the founding principles of the U.S. and the roles and responsibilities intended for citizens and government; the tension between philanthropy and government and the conditions under which the regulatory and fiscal framework evolved. An ancillary objective is to look at how philanthropy and views of stewardship of the common good in European countries reflects the varying roles of their governments and citizens.


  • DANAHEY JANIN, Patricia (Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Research Assistant)
  • SYMONDS, Judith (Consultante, JCS International)

Pedagogical format

The course combines a range of pedagogical techniques, including lectures, reading analysis and discussions, group course-based problematic resolution. Guest lectures include representatives from U.S. foundations, the Foundation Center (US), the European Foundation Center, Impact Investors and academic experts.

Course validation

Continuous assessment: Weekly Syllabus Reading Analysis and Class participation (35%), Group presentations and theme case studies (20%), final research paper 45%).


Each student is asked to prepare brief written weekly syllabus reading analysis (one – one half pages highligtin what surprised you, what you disagreed with and one or two questions. It is not meant to be a summary of the reading; make a presentation to the class on one reading assignment; participate in one group case study presentation and prepare a final research paper of 5,000 words, with assessment as above.

Required reading

  • Fleishman, Joel L. The Foundation: A Great American Secret – How Private Wealth is Changing the World, Public Affairs, 2007.
  • Reich, Rob, Cordelli, Chiara and Lucy Bernholz, Philanthropy in Democratic Societies, The University of Chicago Press, 2016,
  • Sievers, Bruce R., Civil Society, Philanthropy & the Fate of the Commons, Tufts University Press, 2010.
  • Salamon, Lester M., New Frontiers of Philanthropy, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Zunz, Olivier, Philanthropy in America: A History, Princeton University Press, 2012

Additional required reading

  • Bishop, Matthew & Green, Michael, Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, Bloomsbury Press, 2008.
  • Prewitt, Dogan, Mattei, Heydemann, Steven and Toepler, Stefan, Editors, The Legitimacy of Philanthropic Foundations: United States and European Perspectives, Russell Sage Foundation, 2006
  • Mansbridge, Jane, “On the Contested Nature of the Pubic Good,” from “Private Action and the Public Good” (Polwell, W. and Clemens, E., eds.) Yale University Press, 1998
  • Wales, Jane et al.”Advancing Evaluation Practices In Philanthropy, Aspen Institute, Summer 2012.
  • Koh, Harvey, Karamchandani, Ashish and Katz, Robert,” From Blueprint to Scale: the Case for Philanthropy in Impact Investing,” Monitor Group and Acumen Fund.

Plans de cours et bibliographies