Mid-20th century Americans feared polio almost as much as they feared the atomic bomb. “It’s hard to imagine today how pervasive the fear was, and how embedded in the American psyche,” says author Kathryn Black, whose mother was stricken by the disease. That fear motivated Americans to support the cause.
One non-medical legacy of the crusade against polio is in the area of grassroots fundraising. Traditionally, charitable causes relied on large sums of money from wealthy benefactors. But the March of Dimes’ approach proved that seeking small contributions from the millions was an effective strategy.
Times have changed, and now many Americans donate money with the click of a mouse instead of an envelope and a stamp. It’s becoming hard to find a charity or cause that doesn’t accept online donations, no matter how small. According to Federal Election Commission filings, in his 2008 presidential campaign, Democratic candidate and ultimate victor Barack Obama raised a staggering amount, more than $656 million, from individual contributions, and racked up nearly 2.4 million individual donations. More than half of those individual donations were for $200 or less.
Learn more about Presidential campaign funding today.
Federal Election Commission
The history of New York City and the people and forces that have shaped it over the past 400 years is told in a seven-part 14.5-hour series.
P.T. Barnum -- huckster, con man, promoter, entertainer and founder of "The Greatest Show on Earth".
Robert Noyce's invention of the microchip launched the world into the Information Age.
A historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states.
in 1931, Grace Hubbard Fortescue received a one-hour sentence for murdering a local Hawaiian accused of raping her daughter.
French settlers in Louisiana merged with African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans and others to create Cajun and Zydeco musical traditions.
The personal journey of three generations of a Japanese American family, including their stint in internment camps during World War II.
Bascom Lamar Lunsford and his campaign to preserve mountain music and dance.