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  • Writer's pictureErik Arroyo

The History of Charitable Giving in The United States

Updated: Jan 2, 2023


Charitable giving has a long and rich history in the United States. The concept of charity can be traced back to the early colonial period, when settlers established charitable institutions to provide for the poor and the sick.


One of the first recorded acts of charitable giving in the United States occurred in 1643, when a group of colonists in Massachusetts established a fund to provide for the poor and the sick. This fund was supported by voluntary contributions from the community, and it was managed by a group of trustees. This model of charitable giving, which relied on voluntary contributions from the community and was managed by a group of trustees, became a common practice in the colonies.


As the colonies grew and developed, charitable giving became increasingly organized and institutionalized. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a number of philanthropic organizations were established to address specific social issues, such as education, healthcare, and the welfare of the poor. These organizations were supported by donations from individuals and corporations, and they played a significant role in addressing social problems and improving the lives of those in need.


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, charitable giving in the United States became increasingly professionalized. Charitable organizations began to rely more on paid staff and fundraising professionals, and they adopted more business-like practices to raise funds and achieve their goals. The rise of philanthropic foundations, which were established by wealthy individuals and families to support charitable causes, also contributed to the professionalization of charitable giving.


One of the first recorded acts of charitable giving in the United States occurred in 1643, when a group of colonists in Massachusetts established a fund to provide for the poor and the sick.

Today, charitable giving in the United States is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it continues to play a vital role in addressing social problems and improving the lives of those in need. Charitable giving is supported by a variety of sources, including individual donors, foundations, corporations, and the government. It is a cornerstone of the American social safety net and an important part of the country's history and culture.

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