To Fight Poverty, a Fund Changes Tactics but Sticks to Its Mission

A 100-Year-Old Fund Changes Tactics to Fight Poverty 1

Lewis W. Hine/George Eastman House/Getty Images

The Russell Sage Foundation’s efforts to combine scholarly research and political activism helped end abuses of factory workers.

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Lewis W. Hine/George Eastman House/Getty Images

The Russell Sage Foundation’s efforts to combine scholarly research and political activism helped end abuses of factory workers.

As the Wall Street financier and notorious miser, Russell Sage, lay on his deathbed in 1906, the press declared he wept not at the thought of dying but at the cost of his tombstone. Though he was tightfisted in life, his soon-to-be widow decided that he would be generous in death.

After he died, Margaret Olivia Sage dried her tears and went out and bought 12 fur coats.

Then Mrs. Sage decided to use her inheritance to make a difference to the causes she cared about most. She