New Frontiers of Philanthropy Project (NFP)

The New Frontiers of Philanthropy Project (NFP) is a major initiative to broaden the base of knowledge and boost awareness about the new actors and tools surfacing in the leveraged philanthropy and social investing arenas. To do so, the project is producing comprehensive, objective new content examining the full range of these developments, brought to the widest possible audience through an aggressive dissemination and field broadening initiative.

How is the project defining philanthropy?

We are defining philanthropy, broadly, as the mobilization of private resources towards social and environmental objectives. This framing includes traditional grant-making but also the larger world of social investing, including impact investing, microfinance, community development finance, and the new approaches to corporate social engagement.

Why now?

Enormous social, economic, and environmental problems confront the world today, yet the resources of both governments and traditional philanthropy are barely growing or in decline. It is increasingly clear that new models for financing social and environmental objectives are urgently needed. In response to this need, an enormous proliferation of new actors and tools is emerging on the frontiers of traditional philanthropy that could usher in a new phase of social purpose finance. However, these new developments remain nascent and largely uncharted. For the new approaches to philanthropy and social investing to achieve the impact of which they are capable, they will need to make the jump to a broader network of participants.

How will New Frontiers help make this leap?

The project is designed to provide a clear and accessible roadmap to this emerging field—increasing its credence and traction, deepening understanding of its potential, and ultimately bringing this expanded knowledge to the attention of much larger audiences who can act on its message, including nonprofit managers, business leaders, corporate social responsibility officers, public policy experts, microfinance providers, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, impact investors, CRA-motivated banks, private investors, accountants, investment advisors, bankers, insurance companies, pension funds, public officials, and community development finance institutions.

What outputs is the project pursuing?

  1. The initial product of this project was the 2011 book Rethinking Corporate Social Engagement, which offers a new roadmap for advancing the interests of companies and the communities in which they operate.
  2. The primary output for the project is a major book on the New Frontiers of Philanthropy, which provides the first authoritative and comprehensive overview of these new actors and tools—deepening the knowledge base from which to inform, educate, and train. This volume, published in June 2014 by Oxford University Press is available from Amazon and In addition, a shorter volume carrying the introduction and overview chapter by Center Director Lester Salamon is available in hardback, paperback, and Kindle editions at Amazon and
  3. Finally, an aggressive field-broadening initiative will bring the material in this book to a wide audience in easily accessible, understandable formats, presentations, and training sessions. In the process, the new content and broader framework produced by this project will reinforce efforts in the impact investment, community development, social entrepreneurship, philanthropic, and academic fields, significantly enhancing the capacity to mobilize private resources in support of social and environmental objectives.

What we aim to accomplish

The overall goal of this project is to improve our ability to address the world’s growing social, economic, and environmental problems by increasing the resources available to the social entrepreneurs effectively coping with them. To do so, the project will broaden and strengthen the field of leveraged philanthropy and social investment that is tapping new sources of social finance. More specifically, the project will:

  • Bring greater coherence to the field, helping its pioneers represent their innovations more effectively to each other and to philanthropists, social investors, and capital market players globally in order to bring new developments fully into the mainstream.
  • Boost the profile of these new actors and tools among key stakeholders, including public policymakers, the media, investment advisors, investors, and the general public.
  • Identify policy changes needed to lower barriers to utilizing these new tools and increase incentives for their operation.
  • Enhance the knowledge base and legitimacy of the field by producing an authoritative, analytical volume, produced at a respected academic institution and distributed by a well-known publisher.
  • Build a community of knowledge by creating an information platform for signaling new innovations as they emerge.
  • Introduce this next generation of ideas to the next generation of social purpose leaders by creating high-quality teaching materials for students of business, nonprofit management, and public policy.

More information

For more information, please contact Project Director Lester Salamon.