Civil Society and Democracy

The Filer Commission

Better known as the Filer Commission, the Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs was established in 1973 through the efforts of RBF founding trustee John D. Rockefeller 3rd and several others. A privately supported citizens’ commission, participants included leaders in civic affairs, higher education, the arts, foundations, and religious and labor groups. The Commission reflected the growing concern of both JDR 3rd and the RBF with the health and relevance of the philanthropic sector. Over the course of two years, the Commission directed more than 86 research projects on the role of the private, nonprofit sector in the United States. It also convened a series of meetings to discuss the political, social, and economic issues confronting the sector in the 1970s. These meetings produced a series of policy recommendations published as a final report, Giving in America: Toward a Stronger Voluntary Sector. The Commission completed its work in 1975.

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Photo courtesy of the Hartford Courant.

John H. Filer, Chairman of Aetna Life and Casualty and Director of the Hartford Institute of Criminal and Social Justice, chaired the Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs. He is pictured here in 1983.

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