Revisiting the Filer Commission: John D. Rockefeller 3rd's Legacy

by Alicia Schortgen

Jan 1, 2009
The Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs was founded in November 1973 to study the role of philanthropic organizations in the American public policy landscape. The Filer Commission, named for committee chair John Filer, Chief Executive Officer of the Aetna Life and Casualty Company in Hartford, Connecticut, brought together a diverse group of representatives from all sectors to conduct a two-year inquiry into "the value to our nation of the private philanthropic initiative. The commission's report, Giving in America: Toward a Stronger Voluntary Sector (1975), and accompanying research papers remain the most comprehensive study of the nonprofit sector. The 30th anniversary of the commission's commentary has passed with virtually no pomp, a vexing reality given the widely recognized significance of the commission's findings.
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