Since America's earliest years, charitable institutions have served a diverse set of philanthropic purposes in the United States. While the majority of these institutions were historically tied to religious organizations, today there are many different types of private philanthropic bodies that serve a multitude of needs across many issue areas. While philanthropic participation in numerous matters has grown in all categories, the increasing existence of educational philanthropy in America provides perhaps one of the clearest illustrations of the ways in which private philanthropists can support and shape U.S. institutions. This entry begins with a brief history of general philanthropy, then looks at education-oriented philanthropy, its contributions, and some critiques.

A Brief History

America saw the first significant presence of private charitable institutions after the American ...

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