American History of the Non-Profit Sector

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The history of the nonprofit sector is not as specific and straightforward. It is believed that charity and philanthropy which eventually shaped the nonprofit sector began during the early human civilization where the hunters hunt, gather food and provide shelter for each other. In Carl Milofsky’s (1979) “Not for Profit Organization and Community”, proposed that there were six traditions of American participation that shaped the nonprofit sector. They are (1)Protestant Patrician, (2)Urban Ethnic, (3)Free Professional, (4)Organizational Professional, (5)Inter-Organizational Coordination and (6)Corporate Philanthropic traditions.

The Protestant practice started to influence the United Stated in the middle of 19th century. In the bible, it encouraged all Christian-believers to contribute time and money to help the needy ones. Therefore, this has formed communities that participated in voluntary efforts because many of the believers felt morally obligated to contribute to the disadvantaged in their own communities. Many gathered together to build shelters and provided hot meals to the poor.

The nonprofit organizations for ethnic groups were most popular during the refugee resettlement in 1920s. The urban ethnic tradition started from ethnic groups who believed they were not treated well by the American society; therefore, they formed their own nonprofit organization to gather for cultural traditions, religious celebrations and personal crisis such as sicknesses and deaths.

The free professional tradition formed a nonprofit organization where individuals that had the same professions such as attorneys, medical doctor and accountants, to protect the values of their disciplines, to assist in their own definition of being a professional and to receive special supports and products such as magazines, journals, reports and education programs.

The organizational professional nonprofit organization is a direct result of the professionalization of occupations. It is...
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