Vartan Gregorian gives his top five list of books about American philanthropists.
Apparently Rockefeller was convinced that after acquiring as much wealth as possible through Standard Oil, he was morally compelled to use his fortune to improve the lot of humanity. Along with Andrew Carnegie, he helped to define modern philanthropy as a strategic system aimed at finding solutions to long-term problems. All told, Rockefeller gave away somewhere around $550 million, the equivalent of many billions today. His many benefactions included creating the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913 (which now has assets of $3.5 billion); building Rockefeller University in New York; funding an Atlanta college for black women that eventually became Spelman College; and adding incalculable support to the progress of medical science.