Case Study in Philanthropy
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Voluntary contributions by private citizens and corporations in amounts ranging from a few coins to millions of dollars are a major factor in the maintenance of the American way of life. It is difficult to imagine the consequences if this source of support for the work of religious bodies, health and welfare agencies, and educational and research institutions were materially reduced.This case study, focused on Indianapolis, examines a critical mass fund-raising and giving program. Community chests in many communities evolved into the present-day United Way. In design, scope, and detail this study was without precedent when it was initially published in the 1950s. But Community Chest is more than an examination of local problems of fund raising. It also makes a decisive contribution to knowledge of philanthropic practice that is of general relevance to the social sciences.The book asks and seeks answers to the most ticklish issues of philanthropic fund raising: What may agencies expect in contributions from different social segments? How does one begin to estimate the need for philanthropic dollars in a given community? How can the public guard the interests of both ultimate recipients of assistance and donors? In short, what elements are crucial to success or failure in financing voluntary agencies, not merely in terms of money but with full regard for the needs and potentials of citizens and the community as a whole?Sociologists, welfare personnel, and professionals involved in financial development will find in this book an extraordinarv amount of material, both factual and interpretive, suggesting new approaches to the perplexing problems of community fund raising. A new introduction prepared by Carl Milofsky is a fascinating study of the tensions involved in the selection of the senior author, John R. Seeley, and of the critical response to this controversial study. This new material itself uniquely contributes to the sociology of knowledge.