National Philanthropy Day® Official Website
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.