Test Your Knowledge of Nonprofit History

Eileen Hannan

Can you identify one or more of the key historical figures referenced below (without using Google)? If so, please demonstrate your nonprofit history prowess by tweeting the name and corresponding clue number to @phijo or by posting a new comment below. If you are stumped, follow @phijo on Twitter where the answers will be revealed.

  1. Who founded the first voluntary association in 1727? The first fire department the postal system, the first modern liberal arts college, and first lending library are credited to this prominent historical figure.
  2. Who served as a school teacher and nurse, tended to soldiers in the American Civil War, and in 1811 founded the American Association of the Red Cross (now the American Red Cross)? She leaves a legacy for her model of mobilizing and organizing volunteers to provide aid.
  3. Who was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, a Progressive Era reformer and co-founded Hull House, a neighborhood-based organization and settlement house, in Chicago, Illinois in 1889? The settlement house movement, which provided services to recent immigrants, laid the groundwork for the provision of social services and the social work profession.
  4. Who made most of his money in the steel industry and was a key figure in the welfare capitalism movement that connected the wealth of corporations and the community? His foundation, chartered by an act of Congress in 1906, was impetus in the creation of the public library system and remains a keen supporter of education.
  5. In 1907, while in her eighties, who created one of the oldest American foundations? The foundation, still in operation, helped draft the New Deal legislation and remains committed to social research and improving social policy.
  6. The year 2013 marks the centennial celebration of the foundation established by which oil tycoon who focused most of his philanthropy on medicine, science and education? Thirty years of research supported by his foundation, led to the eradication of yellow fever through the development of a vaccine.
  7. Who was a Reverend who first served as business adviser and then later as philanthropic adviser to the key historic figure in #6? He encouraged his advisee to allocate his philanthropic dollars to “scientific agriculture” and later, medicine and medical research that impacted all social classes, not just the wealthy.
  8. In 1919, who co-founded the Cooperative League now named the Century Foundation, a non-partisan social policy think tank? As an individual, he worked to pass the first Workmen’s Compensation law and was key to the establishment of credit unions and chambers of commerce. The foundation has worked on legislation including the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and amendments to the Social Security Act.
  9. Who led a critical examination of private foundations which resulted in tighter federal and financial regulation and oversight of private foundations via the 1969 Tax Reform Act? The legislation’s regulations include minimum payout requirements, a limit on personal deductions on gifts to foundations, and the filing of Form 990 to states.
  10. Who is the namesake of the Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs of the 1970s? The Commission provided a greater understanding of the social and economic impact of the “third sector” through its multidisciplinary, scholarly examination of the intersection of the nonprofit/philanthropic, government and private sectors. The nonprofit, Independent Sector grew out of the commission’s work.

Eileen Hannan is program coordinator at the Institute for Nonprofit Research, Education and Engagement and adviser for the undergraduate minor in Nonprofit Studies at North Carolina State University. To learn more about the minor, go here.

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