What makes us Americans? Is it our patriotism? Citizenship? David Allison, Smithsonian’s Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs said that philanthropy is part of what it means to be an American.
The National Museum of American History is launching a new initiative to explore giving in America. With money from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and David M. Rubenstein, the philanthropic initiative will consist of an annual symposium, endowment of a curatorial position, and a longer term exhibition titled “Giving in America.”
Giving in America has always been present. We can look back through history and see examples from religious organizations to universities. Harvard in 1643 is credited with the first fund drive in America. Cotton Mather in 1702 writes one of the earliest book on American philanthropy. St. George Society was created in 1770 to help impoverished New York City colonists. The list goes on.
As we have begun our year end campaigns, remember that giving has always been and will continue to be the American way.