What Do We Give?
From helping a neighbor to donating entire fortunes for a cause, what Americans give is as diverse as America itself. While gifts of money often receive the most attention, donations of talent, labor, and creativity are equally significant.
Although African Americans who were enslaved could sometimes purchase their liberty, a slave owner’s ability to gift freedom was a constant reminder of his or her power. This document granted freedom to a young girl referred to here as Barby, from George Burckhardt.
Blood Collection Kit, Mead Johnson
Civilian blood drives, first organized during World War II, have become a staple of civic culture. Registration for organ donation became an option in the 1960s. Living organ donations, first successful in the 1980s, are one of the utmost forms of giving of oneself.
Tools and Belt
Volunteerism plays an important role in philanthropy in America. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed lives and homes in the Gulf Coast in 2005, many nonprofit groups organized volunteers to help the recovery effort. Jillian Gross led a team from Habitat for Humanity in rebuilding homes in Louisiana.
Gift of Jillian Gross