Community Chests and Community Philanthropy

April 25, 2012

I’ve played a fair number of Monopoly games in my life, but I never knew that the little yellow pile of Community Chest cards had a real philanthropic history.

Turns out the first modern Community Chest was born in Cleveland in 1913, and, by 1929, Community Chests had spread to 350 cities and towns around the country, eventually becoming The United Way.

Who knew? Not me — until I researched “A Brief History of Community Philanthropy in the U.S.” for the spring issue of Giving Forum on community philanthropy.

The first community foundation also started in Cleveland — The Cleveland Foundation — in 1915. That same year, The Minneapolis Foundation was started by a group of local business leaders.

Read the history to learn how and why community philanthropy — locally and nationally — has ebbed and flowed from 1900 until today. And, you’ll also benefit from a bit of trivia that you can use to wow your next Monopoly mates.

– Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate

Image: cc Pets4Dawn