For-Profits' War on Philanthropy
Inside Higher Ed
Critics of recent efforts to regulate for-profit colleges have suggested that the Obama Administration is waging a “war” on for-profit universities. The reality is exactly the opposite: the for-profit sector is challenging a centuries-old practice of separating philanthropy from business. Since the Elizabethan statute of charitable uses in 1601, Anglo-American law has sought to encourage charitable giving to promote the common good. The idea behind modern philanthropy is that nonprofits undertake services that are either inappropriate for market activity or would not be supported by the market. To ensure that these goods are provided, the state both provides them itself through public institutions and offers private nonprofits legal privileges (such as incorporation) and economic incentives (such as tax benefits).