A Look at ‘Giving in America’
The Smithsonian introduced display cases that look at how the spirit of giving time and money shaped America. Giving has been a unifying thread in U.S. history from the early days with volunteer militias and collection plates in churches to today’s charity runs and crowdfunding efforts. The museum places volunteer work alongside financial initiatives in the context of the nation’s achievements. Appropriately, gifts from philanthropist David M. Rubenstein and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation helped fund the exhibit.
Another feature is a rotating display in D.C. of letters from signers of the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The current display features letter from David Rockefeller, Warren Buffet, Judy Faulkner and others.
The idea for the initiative grew out of the museum delving into the history of business in America for its recently opened innovation wing, according to Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs David Allison. “The role of philanthropy kept coming up,” he said, but there were space concerns. “It made us think that we should do more on that topic.”
By Dyanne Weiss