The History of Nonprofit Organizations in America

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The nonprofit sector in America is a reflection some of the foundational values that brought our nation into existence. Fundamentals, such as the idea that people can govern themselves and the belief that people should have the opportunity to make a difference by joining a like-minded group, have made America and its nonprofit sector what it is today. The American "civil society" is one that has been produced through generations of experiments with government policy, nonprofit organizations, private partnerships, and individuals who have asserted ideas and values. The future of the nonprofit sector will continue to be experimental in many ways. However, the increase of professional studies in nonprofit management and the greater expectation of its role in society is causing executives to look to more scientific methods of management. Kevin C. Robbins (2006) says modern organizations can trace their origin to the philanthropists who feel a sense of moral or spiritual obligation to a cause (p.13). It is at the basis of human relationships and civilization to care for the needs of others, and has been for centuries. Nearly every religion emphasizes in some way the spiritual and moral responsibility of individuals to contribute to others. Ancient Jews saw charitable giving as essential and imperative (Robbins 2006). It was expected that they participate in almsgiving for the poor, widows, and orphans. The Roman Empire contributed to our modern view of philanthropy, also. They had a sense of obligation to civilization to formalize and regulate philanthropy (Robbins 2006, p.17) Christianity has also greatly influenced the motives of philanthropy worldwide by encouraging the practice of self-sacrifice for the good of others in need. ... ... middle of paper ... ...Sector (pp.97-109). 
 Retrieved from: Hall, Peter Dobkin. (2006). A Historical Overview of Philanthropy, Voluntary Association, and Nonprofit Organizations in the United States, 1600-2000. In Walter W. Powell and Richard Steinberg (Eds.), The Non-Profit Sector: A Research Handbook (Second Edition, pp.32-58). 
 Retrieved from: Robbins, Kevin C. (2006). The Nonprofit Sector in Historical Perspective: Traditions of Philanthropy in the West. In Walter W. Powell and Richard Steinberg (Eds.), The Non-Profit Sector: A Research Handbook (Second Edition, pp.13-31).
 Retrieved from: Salamon, Lester M. (1999). America’s Nonprofit Sector: A Primer. United States of America: Lester M. Salamon. (pp.1-74).

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