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Public Good By Private Means (2016 BOOK)

In today’s Britain, where the welfare state uses tax to meet our basic needs and we can buy what we want, does philanthropy still have a role, and if so, what is it?

More importantly, how can we ensure that it is an effective force for good?

This book aims to answer these questions. It tells the story of philanthropy through the ages, the relationship between philanthropists, the state and society, and throws light on the successes – and sometimes spectacular failures – of great philanthropists from the past.

Above all, it shows how the lessons learned from generations of philanthropists and the good, bad or plain ugly results of their well-meaning endeavors suggest principles that should guide public policy on philanthropy to help us overcome some of the most complex and deeply entrenched challenges facing our society.




Learn from our past to better understand our future.

Philanthropy has a long and varied history. We’ve created bite-size chapters that you can jump in and out of to better understand philanthropy.