New University of Richmond Mapping Project to Track Patterns and Global Impact of U.S. Philanthropy

April 19, 2019

sackley-inlineTwo University of Richmond professors, in collaboration with UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab, are developing a tool that will trace every international grant given by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations during the Cold War.

“Mapping the Foundations: U.S. Philanthropy in a Cold War World, 1947-1991” is a collaborative project between Nicole Sackley, associate professor of history and American studies, Tim Barney, associate professor of rhetoric and communication, and Justin Madron, GIS project manager and analyst in UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab. 

The work is being funded by a $4,000 award from the Rockefeller Archive Center and $10,000 from the UR Provost Office’s Creativity Innovation and Entrepreneurship initiative.

barney-inline“The Ford and Rockefeller foundations were the largest private foundations for much of the 20th century,” said Sackley. “They operated in every corner of the world and gave hundreds of millions to not-for-profits, universities, and governments.” 

The interactive mapping tool will trace the grantmaking history of the two foundations from 1947 to 1991. Users will be able to click through regions of the world to review grant amounts, target destinations, and in-depth analysis and histories of each grant in order to identify patterns in the foundations’ philanthropic histories and global impact.  

The map will examine the foundations’ philanthropic priorities compared to U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War, a period both Sackley and Barney have studied extensively.

madron-inline“International development really exploded during the Cold War and foundations had to navigate the realities of the war while trying to establish programs all over the world,” said Barney. “Foundations could do things that the U.S. government could not, so we'll be interested to see how Ford and Rockefeller adapted to their newfound roles of power.”

Sackley and Barney, along with two UR students, will travel to the Rockefeller Archive Center in May to review documents and photographs about the specific international grants that will be featured in the maps.

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