Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. No re-opening date is available at this time. Check our website and social media for updates. Read a message from our director.
The Philanthropy Initiative collects, researches, documents, and exhibits materials relating to the history of American giving and convenes important conversations about philanthropy’s impact across a wide spectrum of issues.
A changing exhibition, Giving in America, and annual program, The Power of Giving: Philanthropy’s Impact on American Life, use philanthropy as a lens for exploring how Americans’ gifts of time, expertise, and resources have shaped the world and continue to do so. Annual themes, such as health and medicine, examine philanthropy’s role in affecting a specific area of need and make connections between historic and contemporary giving.

FEATURED

Philanthropy and Hamilton:
An American Musical

2019 POWER OF GIVING PROGRAM

Watch all videos from our program on health & medicine

GIVING IN AMERICA

View the online exhibition

2018 POWER OF GIVING PROGRAM

Watch all videos from our program on culture & the arts

NEWS

2016 POWER OF GIVING PROGRAM

Watch all videos from our program on philanthropy, sustainability, and the environment

#AMERICANGIVING

Browse hundreds of visitor giving stories

2015 POWER OF GIVING PROGRAM

Watch all videos from the Philanthropy Initiative launch

BLOG POSTS

GIVING PLEDGE LETTERS & MORE

The Philanthropy Initiative is made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and David M. Rubenstein, with additional support by the Fidelity Charitable Trustees' Initiative, a grantmaking program of Fidelity Charitable.

 
For more on the Philanthropy Initiative, please contact Anna Karvellas, Philanthropy Initiative Program Manager.

From Our Blog

Maggie Lena Walker was one of the most important Black businesswomen in the nation, and today too few people have heard of her.
Tommy Tucker, a squirrel, had over 100 outfits and matching hats. He used his unique fashion sense to support philanthropic causes and the war effort.
See more blog posts