Philanthropy throughout American History

Amanda Manoly

John Koman

Jennifer Arauz

Shireen Abdallat


            What is philanthropy?  An opportunity to be involved, caring, serving, and our response to human needs, intended to promote good and improve the quality of life. Philanthropists participating in philanthropy are often made up of those who are comfortable when it comes to wealth. However, people may participate in philanthropic acts without having great wealth. Philanthropy is a major source of income for the artistic, religious, musical, and humane causes (also including schools and universities).

            Philanthropy became highly recognized during the gilded age. Several charities formed during the war. A main and very popular charity, even till this day, is the Red Cross. People would raise money to help disasters around the world. The founder was named Clara Barton. After witnessing the civil war, she wanted to organize something to help the war. Also, John Rockefeller donated over $80 transforming a small community college into a "world class institution" Another good example is Andrew Carnegie. He was a businessman/philanthropist and founder of Carnegie Steel. His was the most powerful corporation in U.S. History. He sold his business and made $200 million. He donated money to libraries, schools, universities, and scientific research. He built the Carnegie Hall and has been popular ever since. It is possible that Carnegie may have been a philanthropist for materialistic reasons. Although he donated an unbelievable amount of money, he was also part of a pool and trust. Because people did not like pools and trusts, it possible that he donated money just so that people wouldn’t think so lowly of them.

            Nowadays, philanthropy still plays a large role in society. Bill and Melinda Gates founded their own foundation, which has now given over $7 billion for various causes. Mostly, the Gates give their money to schools and universities. For example, in the year 2000 they gave $210 billion dollars to Cambridge University for scholarships. Another good example of present day philanthropy is Oprah. On a year to date scale, her funds have given $250 million to many causes. $1 Million of that was donated by Jon Bon Jovi, most likely from materialistic causes. In one episode of Oprah, she opened donations to the public to fight AIDS in South Africa. Overnight, the people of the United States donated $7 million dollars. This shows that philanthropy is not always materialistic and sometimes people give money to causes out of the kindness of their hearts.

            The future will no doubt have its shares of philanthropists. There will be more people like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, and Jimmy Carter who will pave the way of charity. With more kids looking into a college education and bigger pay checks, money will most definitely end up finding its way into the pockets of churches, universities, and scientific research. However, some philanthropists do not donate money for a good cause, but look to get fame for their giving. When this occurs, philanthropy is no longer done out of good-hearted nature, but to impress others. In the future, these popularity contests will grow, causing everyone to want their name up on a science center or library. Philanthropy could sadly end up not being a moral and heart warming sacrifice from those who are willing to give money to a better cause, but could simply be another selfish act to help their own personal needs and egos grow.


External Important Websites: : This website tells all about Andrew Carnegie and his steel company. : A biography of Andrew Carnegie going further in depth of his life. : This website helped us gained a better understanding of philanthropy and how it is different from other kinds of charity. :  This website describes Philanthropy today Helped us understand more about John D. Rockefeller and what he did with his money. This website also helped us understand more about philanthropy and gave us some take off names to start researching. Lists many philanthropists and gives a brief description to help us decide who we wanted to use. : This is a website all about Clara Barton and it explains her part in Philanthropy  : Helped inform us about Oprah’s Angel Network which is a charity that helps

Non-profit organization We got our ideas about the future of philanthropy from this site