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About us

Private action for public benefit.

By public benefit we mean activities that serve an explicitly social goal.

The Marshall Institute works to improve the impact and effectiveness of private action for public benefit. By private action we mean the activities of philanthropic foundations, social entrepreneurs, charities, NGOs and individual citizens, donating their time, money, ideas, knowledge and skills to serve the public good. By public benefit we mean activities that serve an explicitly social goal. Very often these interventions involve significant risk.  Almost always they involve outcomes that are hard to measure. They are always improved by understanding.

Core examples of private action for public benefit are:

  • Philanthropy - the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.
  • Social entrepreneurship - people who pursue an innovative idea with the potential to solve a community problem and who are willing to take on the risk and effort to create positive changes in society through their initiatives. 

The Marshall Institute informs and coordinates the efforts of citizens, researchers, private sector organisations, and social entrepreneurs who are working to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. We equip the foremost figures in the field, and the leaders of the future, with the knowledge they need to put philanthropic funding and social endeavour to best use.

The Marshall Institute draws upon the exceptional global reach and expertise at LSE and collaborates with existing departments, research centres and institutes within the School.

The Marshall Institute focuses on three areas: