How Institutions Take Risks

Sunday, October 12, 2014
How Institutions Take Risks
As Adolf Hitler harassed, isolated, and murdered many of Europe's greatest scientists, philosophers, and thinkers, the Rockefeller Foundation pivoted from its core public-health work to the heart-wrenching and perilous business of saving scholars who were seeking refuge from the Nazis.
In light of this episode and others, I decided to explore the Rockefeller Foundation's archives and interview its current president, Judith Rodin, to learn more about philanthropies, risk, and the links between risk-taking today and during the Nazi era. 
The following interview examines the refugee-scholars program of the 1930s and early 1940s; Rodin's efforts at the University of Pennsylvania to invest endowment resources in West Philadelphia; her work in developing the field of impact investing; and her big bet at the Rockefeller Foundation on urban resilience....
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