Waldemar Nielsen (died in 1999)
"His seminal work, "The Big Foundations" (Columbia University Press, 1972) parted the curtain on the secretive world of private fortunes and public largess...
"Mr. Nielsen updated the scene to the mid-1980's with "The Golden Donors" (E. P. Dutton, 1985), which expanded his history of philanthropy and introduced a new crop of foundations...
"Early in his career, Mr. Nielsen worked in government, disseminating information about the Marshall Plan to the American taxpayer and to its beneficiaries in Europe. He directed domestic and overseas programs at the Ford Foundation, becoming an expert on Africa, and, as the president of the African-American Institute in the 1960's, fostered cultural and educational exchanges with a continent still struggling to emerge from colonialism.
"His first three books dealt with issues facing Africa. The third volume, "The Great Powers in Africa" (Praeger, 1969), published for the Council on Foreign Relations, gained the author wide recognition.
"Backed by statistical tables, "The Great Powers and Africa" examined Africa at the end of the colonial era, when countries became a battleground for superpower politics. One chapter assessed the "white redoubt" in southern Africa as a "smoldering catastrophe." Reviewing American policy, Mr. Nielsen discounted direct military intervention as a solution but suggested aid to liberation movements in nearby states and the kind of economic strictures, in fact, that eventually helped end South Africa's apartheid regime...
"He joined the Ford Foundation in 1952 as deputy director of its behavioral sciences division, rose to executive assistant to the president and associate director international affairs, dealing with the foundation's programs overseas. He was elected president of the African-American Institute in New York, a foundation beneficiary, and oversaw programs that, among other things, broke educational bottlenecks by helping young Africans to an otherwise unaffordable secondary education in their own countries.
"After leaving the African-American Institute in 1970, he started his own firm, Waldemar A. Nielsen Inc., a consultancy on corporate social policy, which he ran in New York until four years ago. Over the years, he was affiliated with the Aspen Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2000 a Nielsen chair in philanthropy was endowed in his honor at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute." 
- Joan Roelofs, Review of The Golden Donors by Waldemar Nielsen, and Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism ed. by Robert Arnove. Telos (Summer 1986): 178-182.
Resources and articles
- Waldemar Nielsen, Expert on Philanthropy, Dies at 88, NYT, accessed April 3, 2010.