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National Philanthropy Day® Official Website

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Famous Dates in Philanthropy

1630    John Winthrop preaches “A Model of Christian Charity" to Puritans bound for New England
1638    John Harvard bequeaths library and half of his estate to newly founded school at Cambridge, Mass.
1715-1718    Elihu Yale sends gifts to Collegiate School of Connecticut (chartered 1701); school changes name to Yale College.
1729    First orphan home in present boundaries of United States established in Ursaline Convent, New Orleans
1751-1752    Dr. Thomas Bond, assisted by Benjamin Franklin and others, founds Pennsylvania Hospital, the first general hospital in the United States.
1790    Death of Benjamin Franklin; his will established Franklin Funds in Boston and Philadelphia to lend money to “young married artificers of good character."
1817    Thomas Hopkins Galludet establishes in Hartford, Conn., America's first free school for the deaf.
1825    Founding of New York House of Refuge, first reformatory for juveniles.
1861    U.S. Sanitary Commission, forerunner of American Red Cross, organized.
1881    Booker T. Washington organizes Tuskegee Institute for Negroes in Tuskegee, Ala.
1889    John D. Rockefeller gives $600,000 to help found new University of Chicago.
1910    Boy Scouts of America founded (Campfire Girls, 1910; Girl Scouts, 1912).
1913    American Cancer Society founded.
1919    Death of Andrew Carnegie; contributions total $350 million.
1927    Restoration of Williamsburg, Va., financed by John D. Rockefeller, begins.
1931    President's Organization for Unemployment Relief conducts publicity campaign for local fund appeals.
1937    Congress accepts Andrew Mellon's offer to give art collection and National Gallery building in D.C. to public.
1946    John D. Rockefeller, Jr., gives 17 acres of downtown Manhattan land as site for United Nations headquarters.
1955    Salk vaccine against paralytic polio climaxes 17 years of work by National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
1961    Peace Corps established by the U.S. government, providing volunteers to needy countries.
1966    Jerry Lewis begins annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons, marking the arrival of major media as an effective fundraising technique.
1985    Bob Geldof organizes Live Aid, a music extravaganza which raises $40 million for international hunger relief.
1986    First National Philanthropy Day®
1997    Ted Turner makes one billion dollar gift to the United Nations.
1998    United States Postage Stamp honoring philanthropy is issued.



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