Philanthropy has been around for thousands of years but the study of philanthropic organizations and their role in a civil society is still recent. Most of the research focuses on organizations and institutions in developed market economies, in particular the United States. But in looking at other areas such as the global south and central and eastern Europe, major differences in a number of critical aspects emerge that challenge conventional assumptions and models of philanthropy. There, frequently resource-poor and hybrid organizations are very different from the professional, large-scale foundation in the US or western Europe, but they are nonetheless philanthropic institutions that are more reflective of local needs and capacities, and often with greater innovative potential rather than some ready-made, imported legal form could offer.
This book is the result of case studies conducted as part of the International Network on Strategic Philanthropy, which focus on the role of philanthropy in the globalization process and in lesser developed economies. Throughout, they emphasize the lessons in innovation that can be taken from them, and together demonstrate that these emerging philanthropic institutions can develop their own methods and indeed offer criteria that the Western world might learn from.