The world of the golden donors - the rich and influential philanthropic foundations - is quite likely the least known and yet most pervasive of all the invisible money and power networks in America. Nielsen explores the 36 largest of the 22,000 currently active foundations. He takes the reader inside each of the giants to analyze its people, policies, and performance. From the most famous, Ford and MacArthur, to the most obscure, Mabee and Moody, the author lets in daylight and lets out the bats as well as the butterflies. Golden Donors is a journey through 36 flefdoms, each of which controls upwards of $250 million dollars, beyond the reach of the IRS, in order to encourage medical research, support cultural and artistic endeavors, and not least, to buttress immensely expensive educational institutions. Which of the great foundations in recent years have been spectacular successes and which are failures? Is today's leadership in the third-stream economy equal to the task? Are foundations, seedbeds or killing grounds of new social and political ideas? And what is the federal government, and a variety of administrations, doing to help or harm this new economy? Nielsen provides many surprising and some quite startling answers for the millions of Americans whose lives the golden donors directly or indirectly affect. When Golden Donors first appeared, A. Bartlett Giamatti praised it as an historical guide, a shrewd critique, and an impassioned warning. "This remarkable book on the nation's largest foundations must be ready by anyone concerned with America's unique not-for-profit sector and the quality of our national life." Kingman Brewster saw the book as "a revealing mirror held up to the faces of big philanthropy...a must book for foundation creators and leaders." Thornton F. Bradsahw said, "Golden Donors describes the large American foundations, what they are how they got that way, and wherein lies their strength and their potential. The book is wise, witty, and perceptive - indispensable reading."