The National Philanthropic Trust has started a new website on the history of philanthropy that covers the last 500 years of philanthropy from all over the globe.

"Benjamin Soskis: Can you tell me a bit about the genesis of National Philanthropic Trust’s History of Modern Philanthropy project? What inspired you to take it on?

"Eileen Heisman: I’ve been teaching a graduate course on philanthropy and fundraising for non-profits at the University of Pennsylvania, and this is my tenth year. It’s a survey course, and I always feel that the first session we should go over topics related to the history of philanthropy. And when I first started to research that, ten years ago, there was so little [material] to find. I just couldn’t easily access things.

"Then, when we had our tenth year anniversary [nine years ago], we decided in honor of it we were going to do a booklet that was the history of North American philanthropy. So we did this chronological history of highlights of North American philanthropy—we tried to go back to Native Americans, so not just the Anglo version. I liked it but I always had the vision that it wasn’t enough." HistPhil