International Research

Given that PhiLab is a Network, international research units can become associated with the project.

Associated units are autonomous in their research project choices. However, they must initiate projects that are related to PhiLab’s interests.

European Research Unit: France

Project Title:  Philanthropy social science program

Supervisor: Nicolas Duvoux

Partners: Fondation de France, Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso, Fondation Caritas, PhiLab

Team members: Anne Monier

Following the recent transformations of a burgeoning philanthropic sector, social science research on this question is slowly structuring itself in France. While a few other philanthropy research centers already exist, this project distinguishes itself by the conceptual tools and methods used as well as its target. The project emerged from exchanges between researchers during protests, which initiated a dynamic with the aim of bringing together existing research and to stimulate researchers on the theme of the implication of private actors in actions of general interest. It is characterized by an attachment to the multidisciplinary dimension of philanthropy research, a multidimensional object which allows interconnecting questions specific to history, political science, sociology, economy, anthropology. The project’s aim is to reinforce and make visible social science research on philanthropy, as well as distributed them to both actors of the sector as well as the public at large in France and internationally.

The project has three main objectives:

  • The first is to make known in the international literature, both in the European and North American spheres, the results and analyses of past and present research on philanthropy in France (works of the founders of the initiatives and of the whole community of French and francophone researchers). Publications in journals and the publication of a book in English are the first objectives of this initiative. The development of international partnerships, with PhiLab in Canada, with philanthropy research organizations in Europe (Dafné) and in the United States (namely at Stanford University) will be at the heart of the project initiator’s concerns.
  • The second objective is to ensure the development of empirical research on philanthropy. While research on French founders and donors as well as another on transnational philanthropy are in progress, a new research program is in development. It consists in a “Traces” project that aims to understand philanthropy according to the donor lifespan, by taking interest in “what remains” once the donation is made, meaning all the material counterparts offered to donors, namely through the implementation of donor recognition plates, be they nominal or multiple, but also the benches, statues, buildings that carry the name of donors for 10, 20, 100 years.
  • The third objective is to contribute to the distribution of this research to actors of the sector as well as to the public. Attention will be paid to the animation of exchanges between researchers and actors of the sector, through the organization of seminars or regular study days. Particularly, meetings with researches on the key social issues in connection to philanthropy are organized.  A meeting with Sylvain Lefèvre took place on November 22nd, 2018. Two other meetings will follow: meeting with the economist Julia Cagé, and with the historian Pierre Rosanvallon. Research activities are also in place, such as the organization of two study days in June of 2018.
Latin American Research Unit

Project Title:

Supervisor: Juan Luis Klein

Team members: Carlos la Serna, Mario Radrigán, Maria Martinez Cosio, Marta Rey-Garcia

African Research Unit

Project Title:

Supervisor: Lynda Rey

Team members: Valentin Migabo, Honoré Gbédan

USA Research Unit

Project Title: The Nexus between Place-Based Philanthropy, Social Justice and Environmental Justice. A comparative International Analysis.

Supervisor: Mirle Rabinowitz-Bussel

Team members: Maria Martinez-Cosio and Joshua Newton

This project expands upon our previous research on place-based philanthropy in the U.S. and takes it further to collaborate with colleagues in Canada and Latin America to determine the impact of this type of philanthropic approach elsewhere. We will focus on identifying and evaluating the landscape of place-based philanthropy in Canada, in both an urban and rural context, and the extent to which foundations are supporting efforts to promote social equality and environmental sustainability at discrete geographic scales (neighborhood, city, region). We seek to identify international exemplars (from the U.S. and elsewhere) and conduct a comparative analysis of the guiding philosophies, methodologies, approaches, and lessons learned as a way to inform numerous Canadian stakeholders: community residents, elected officials, other decision makers, academics and practitioners. We plan to edit an anthology of these Canadian and international exemplars. There are significant potential implications for policymakers from our efforts to render visible the work of Canadian nonprofits and philanthropic entities as they impact underserved communities. There is little work on understanding the role of place-based philanthropy in Canada; engagement of indigenous communities is a compelling challenges; and our Latin American partners also seek to also make visible the potential for place based philanthropy to impact socioeconomic mobility as many of these countries do not have this tradition in place; and our implications for understanding the tenuous role between researchers and powerful Canadian private and public foundations may be one of our more important contributions to further opening the doors to improving policy related to socio-economic mobility.

Observatory: International Research Units

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