Mass Philanthropy as Public Thrift for an Age of Consumption

Olivier Zunz

in Thrift and Thriving in America

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199769063
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199896851 | DOI:
Mass Philanthropy as Public Thrift for an Age of Consumption

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This chapter traces the development of modern mass philanthropy, which used investigative problem solving in conjunction with government initiatives to make use of the enormous corporate wealth created by the revolution in industrial production. But individual Americans also participated in the new philanthropic spirit, putting to use the savings they had accumulated through practices of frugality and new prosperity. Fund-raising techniques came to rely largely on “nickel-and-dime” strategies to raise large amounts of money from a wide swath of the population. This charitable ethic was supported by the fund-raising effort around World War I, which raised the activity of giving to the level of patriotic duty.

Keywords: philanthropy; corporate wealth; savings; fund-raising; thrift

Chapter.  7002 words. 

Subjects: Economic Sociology

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