Philanthropy is an increasingly significant source of revenue for universities, but the majority of donations go to five big universities.
The US$2 billion that the Amazon founder and his wife are donating to help the homeless and educate young kids may appear selfless. But this money may also soften calls to raise taxes on the rich.
For universities in Australia to get the most out of philanthropic donations, they need to develop persuasive cases for giving, and work with staff, communities and donors towards shared goals.
Investor Bill Miller's $75 million gift to the Johns Hopkins philosophy department clashes with conventional wisdom regarding the value studying the humanities today.