1989Self-made Scottish-American industrialistAndrew Carnegie publishes his essay TheGospel of Wealth, often seen as a cornerstoneof modern philanthropy. He argues it isdisgraceful to die rich, and advocates donatingto social causes before death.1911Carnegie establishes the CarnegieCorporation, with a remit to promote theadvancement and diffusion of knowledge andunderstanding. It is now one of the worldsoldest, largest and most influential foundations.
1913Inspired by Carnegies The Gospel of Wealth,American oil magnate John D Rockefellerfounds the Rockefeller Foundation. Thefoundation initially focuses on medicalresearch, its first grant going to the AmericanRed Cross. It goes on to play an instrumentalrole in developing vaccines for hookworm andyellow fever, and to date has given more than$14 billion to projects tackling wellbeing aroundthe world, expanding into areas such asclimate change and sustainable economicgrowth.
1919The Sir Ratan Tata Trust is established. Theeponymous Ratan is the son of JamsetjiTata, founder of the Tata empire, whichstarted as a family cotton trading businessbefore expanding into different industries tobecome a multinational conglomerate. TheSir Ratan Tata Trust is one of the oldestphilanthropic institutions in India. It focuseslargely on making individual grants foreducation and medical relief, but has alsomade institutional grants in areas includingeducation, health, the arts, women’sempowerment and rural development.
1923The Turkish state is built on the work of foundations, which have been providers of socialservices in Turkey since the days of the Ottoman empire. Most of Turkeys leading museums,hospitals and universities remain foundation investments. Since the establishment of theTurkish Republic, foundations have also actively lobbied for social change and contributed tothe building of public institutions.1936The Wellcome Trust is established. Focused on funding biomedical research, the trust is theUKs wealthiest charitable foundation
1941The Rockefeller Foundation sows the seeds of the controversial green revolution, providingtechnical support and supplies for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre(CIMMYT) in Mexico. The CIMMYT works on new disease-resistant strains of maize, beansand wheat. 1944Hotel magnate Conrad Hilton sets up the Hilton Foundation, one of the few medium-sizedfoundations with a strong emphasis on international development.Priority areas now include the provision of safe water and care for children affected byAIDS.
1951Max Thieler receives a Nobel prize for his Rockefeller-funded work on a yellow fever vaccine. The straindeveloped by Thieler is still the current source ofvaccines against the disease. 1960-70sLarge-scale social movements spark the emergence ofsocial justice philanthropy, pushing for increasedcommunity participation in public policy decisions. Theyspur a conscious shift away from simply providingmaterial goods and towards direct engagement with localcommunities to plan activities and chart long-termsolutions.
1967The Aga Khan Foundation is set up bythe leader of the Shia Imami IsmailiMuslims. The foundation focuses onhealth, education, culture, ruraldevelopment, institution-building and thepromotion of economic development. Itoperates in 30 countries across theworld and in 2010 had an annual budgetof $625m
1969The Mitsubishi Foundation is established in Japan, modeled on US foundations and setup in part as a response to growing social pressure to address the health andenvironmental problems associated with rising industrial emissions.The Foundation de France is established by the French government after research andconsultation with philanthropic organizations in the US. It raises money directly from thepublic and makes donations to non-profit activities in the public interest, serving as acatalyst between government and private philanthropy. While the main focus of its work isdomestic, the foundation also supports some NGOs in developing countries.
1970Scientist Norman Borlaug wins the Nobelpeace prize for his Rockefeller-funded workdeveloping hybrid wheat. 1976Howard Hughes dies, leaving his fortune to theHoward Hughes Medical Institute, the secondwealthiest charitable foundation in the US today.
1979The Open Society Foundation is foundedby the Hungarian-born financier GeorgeSoros, initially to fund scholarships forblack students at the University of CapeTown and dissidents in eastern Europe.The Open Society Foundation and theSoros Foundation are now the largest oftheir kind working on internationaldemocratic development, and have apresence in more than 30 countries.
1980-90sChinese philanthropy has changed significantly in recent years. Many of the newersocial organizations established between the late 80s and the mid-90s were lessreliant on government funding and sustained themselves through a combination ofpublic, private and international funds. This includes foundations such as the ChinaPopulation Welfare Foundation and the China Youth Development Foundation. Since2000, there has been a trend towards private individual philanthropy and theestablishment of corporate foundations such as the Heren Charitable Foundation,which is named after the father of the Chinese businessman Cao Dewang (FuyaoGlass Industry Group).
1986The World Food Prize is set up by Nobel prize-winning agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug.The prize recognises innovation in agriculture development and is endowed by businessmanand philanthropist John Ruan lll.Dr Walter Plowright, right, a British scientist who developeda vaccine against rinderpest, one of the deadliest animaldiseases, receives the 1999 World Food Prize from prizechairman John Ruan, centre, and vice-chairman John Ruan II,in Iowa.
1990sVenture philanthropy focusing on theapplication of venture capital investmentstrategies and an emphasis on outcomeevaluation emerges as a new trend amongfoundations. Examples include the AcumenFund, which started with support from theRockefeller and Cisco foundations.Philanthropic institutions continue to growin many parts of the Asia-Pacific region,despite the economic downturn andfinancial crisis. Most private giving is toreligious institutions. The growing role ofthe media in mobilizing people to donate inthe aftermath of natural disasters alsoincreases the role of (individual)philanthropy.
1993The Bellagio Forum for Sustainable Development (BFSD) an initiative of the RockefellerFoundation and the Fondazione San Paolo di Torino is established as an internationalnetwork of foundations, NGOs, media institutions and corporations. The foundation aimsto foster co-operation between the private sector, civil society and government to promotesustainable development.
1994The William H Gates Foundationlaunches, with an initial endowment of$94m and a focus on global health andcommunity development in the north-west US. In 2000, with an initial infusionof $16bn, the foundation merges with theseparate Gates Learning Foundation tobecome the Bill & Melinda GatesFoundation. Main priorities include globalhealth, education and libraries. Bill andMelinda Gates play with young patientsduring a malaria vaccine trial inMozambique.
2000The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa is established by the CarnegieCorporation and the Ford, MacArthur and Rockefeller foundations. The mission of thepartnership is to improve the educational capacity of African universities. Support forthe partnership is renewed in 2005 with an additional $200m grant; new chartermembers include the Hewlett, Mellon and Kresge foundations. 2005The Emirates Foundation is set up by the the emirate of Abu Dhabi to facilitate newpublic-private funded initiatives to improve the welfare of all people across the UAE.It is an example of the increasing trend towards public-private partnershipfoundations in Arab countries.
2007The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropy is founded with the aim of bringingdonors together and building a knowledge base on Muslim philanthropy.The CAF Centre for Asian Philanthropy is set up in Singapore by the UKs CharitiesAid Foundation. The centre works with multinationals and wealthy individuals tobridge the gap between private wealth and the regions development challenges. 2008US foundations increasingly focus on the impacts of climate change. The number ofclimate change-related grants double between 2000 and 2008. The largest (worth$550m) is made by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
2009A $630m foundation-funded polioeradication initiative is launched withsupport from the Bill & Melinda GatesFoundation, Rotary International and theBritish and German governments.Philanthropy in the Gulf Co-operationCouncil states amounts to $15-20bnannually.
2010Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet establish the Giving Pledge, which encourageswealthy individuals to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes.The first Pan-African Grant Makers Assembly is held in Nairobi, Kenya, funded andorganised primarily by African foundations such as TrustAfrica, the Kenya CommunityDevelopment Foundation, Akiba Uhaki, the African Womens Development Fund and theUrgent Action Fund. It receives additional support from the Rockefeller Foundation.The AGN is seen as a major move towards institutionalising African philanthropy bycreating a platform for setting standards and promoting good practice.
2011Vincent Tan, who founded theconglomerate Berjaya Group, follows theGiving Pledge by giving away half hiswealth an estimated $1.25bn. Most of itwill go to his Better Malaysia Foundation.Private charitable giving in India soars.According to the India PhilanthropyReport, total private giving in India todayis between 0.3% and 0.4% of GDP($5bn-$6bn), making India one of theleaders in charitable giving amongdeveloping and emerging economies.The most popular activities includeeducation, food, clothing and shelter.