Philanthropy

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Philanthropy

Nonprofit and volunteer organizations in Arkansas, from religious groups in the territorial period to the charitable foundations of today, have contributed greatly to the economic wellbeing of the state. Charitable giving by private groups to benefit persons outside their own membership—the definition of philanthropy used here—has been an essential feature of the economic landscape of Arkansas. This has been the case because of the state’s long-term experience with poverty and with a reluctance, until fairly recently, to use government programs to alleviate human suffering and expand educational opportunities for the people of Arkansas. Rise of Organized PhilanthropyOrganized charitable giving first grew out of church, women’s, and fraternal groups. In the absence of state-sponsored educational institutions, churches in pre–Civil War Arkansas …