Part I detailed the forces behind philanthropy in the United States:

Part II illustrates the historical context of philanthropic initiatives


1921   Private Foundations recognized in the tax code through the Revenue Act of 1921

1934   Congress allows nonprofits to lobby but not to engage in political activity:

1935   Revenue Act of 1935 permits corporations to deduct up to 5 percent of taxable income when making charitable contributions

1935   Winston-Salem Community Foundation receives the first Donor Advised Fund contribution:

1949   Council on Foundations is founded “to promote responsible and effective philanthropy.” Today, the Council includes more than 2,000 foundations and corporate grant makers

1956   Carnegie Corporation and the Russell Sage Foundation establish the Foundation Center, which aims to increase public awareness of foundations by publishing a directory of foundations

1964   Revenue Act of 1964 enacts distinction between publicly supported charities and charities that do not receive public support

1980   Independent Sector is created from the merger of the National Council on Philanthropy and Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations.  It now represents all major charitable tax-exempt organizations collaborating with foundations and corporate grant makers

1981   The MacArthur Fellows Program awards its first “genius grants” to talented individuals who have shown originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity of self-direction

1984   U.S. Supreme Court rules states cannot impose limits on amount of money charities spend on fund raising:  Maryland v Munson

Deficit Reduction Act outlines changes in rules governing private foundations including the potential for foundations to reduce their excise tax from 2% to 1%, more liberal deductibility rules for gifts from living donors, and a temporary limit on administrative expenses

1986   Hands Across America is held on Sunday, May 25th to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness. More than 5 million people join hands stretching 4,152 miles from New York City’s Battery Park to the Long Beach, CA pier

Tax Reform Act lowers income tax rates and reduces charitable giving incentives. Act failed to renew non-itemized charitable deductions and inclusion of gifts of appreciated property in calculating the alternative minimum tax. It required private foundations to pay estimated tax

1996   Forum of Regional Associations of Grant Makers is founded

1998   IRS Code Section 170(e)(5) becomes permanent, allowing donors to deduct the full market value of gifts of appreciated stock to private foundations

2001   Over $1 billion donated to charitable causes in the aftermath of September 11th, the largest act of collective giving in the history of the United States

2006   Warren Buffet announces donation of $43.5 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to private foundations and charities.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation receives $31 billion

2009   President Obama signs the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, strengthening national volunteer efforts by boosting federal funding


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