A History of Modern Philanthropy Launches

Author National Philanthropic Trust

April 26, 2016

We are proud to announce that “A History of Modern Philanthropy,” a one-of-a-kind digital resource about the past 500 years of global philanthropy, launched today at HistoryofGiving.org. The new digital exhibition, curated by NPT, highlights 200 moments in philanthropic history. More than 70 rare media assets, including documents, audio and video, illustrate these pivotal points in the history of giving.

Despite the extensive content available online, there was not a consolidated source covering the story of modern philanthropy. We saw the opportunity to create a single, well-researched resource with the potential to grow over time. Each entry connects to a larger trend in philanthropy. HistoryofGiving.org answers the question, “What was going on in the world that inspired charitable giving?” This detailed exhibition describes modern philanthropy’s origins and evolution through the lens of important moments, philosophies and people.

Philanthropy means “love of mankind.” Throughout history, we see that philanthropy isn’t just giving money to a charity. It can include social practices, the emergence of charitable institutions, the use of skills or knowledge to benefit a larger community—or all of these combined.

Today, philanthropy is a $358 billion sector in the US that touches everyone’s lives in one way or another. Visitors to the site will learn how philanthropy as we know it came to be. As the site tells the history of giving, we hope it also inspires new acts of charity and new philanthropists.

We invite collaboration on future phases of HistoryofGiving.org. 

We are grateful to History Associates and Suka Creative for their assistance on this project, which took more than 1,300 hours to research and create.