For Impact


A look at US philanthropy 100 years ago.

For Impact Ideas | | Nick Fellers

Via SundayMagazine.orgI came across the Jan 1, 1911 New York Times article recapping Philanthropy in 1910 (Visit the site and click on PDF to read the full article). It’s pretty interesting to read… tons of information – includes giving from the Rockefellers, JP Morgan, Carnegie.

Some other notes:

  • You can tell philanthropy as an ‘American Identify’ is young. The article references how much has happened since the civil war ‘just 50 years ago’. Furthermore, “America’s men and women do not build for themselves great mausoleums as did the Kings and Queens of old, thereby sacrificing human life and and using vast sums of money which forever after was unproductive. Instead they give of their possessions, both during their lifetime and after their death, that the people may help themselves to higher and nobler livers.”
  • We’re seeing a HUGE swell in fundraising for public education (today: 2010-11); it’s not new however. Note that Andrew Carnegie “gave $3M, distributed among ten cities, for the benefit of public school teachers“.
  • I tend to think of American philanthropy as originating around civic causes. Building the schools, hospitals, etc. I think this is what gave rise to the old-line capital campaign. Here we see several examples including several gifts to YMCA’s and hospitals.
  • The headline says $163M given for philanthropy but the articles notes this total only includes publicly declared gifts.
  • EVERY gift was for a domestic purpose. The article doesn’t profile any gifts that went to start or support projects in other countries.
  • Support vs. Solution: You notice a lot of gifts were for facilities or institutions to CARE for people that had disabilities or types of sickness. I didn’t really see any gifts that went toward finding solutions (ie research). Certainly, that’s a HUGE change in 100 years.

Bonus: I came across because I follow the blog creator (@ironicsans) through another of his creative sites: