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 evolution of rhythm and blues through the careers of singers Ruth Brown and Charles Brown, with contemporary performances by both.
In 1967, thousands of hippies flocked to San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district.
George Eastman introduced the Kodak and Brownie camera systems and transformed photography into something anybody could do.
Between 1890 and 1920, 12 million people emigrated from Europe arriving in New York Harbor and Ellis Island.
The American effort to relieve starvation in Soviet Russia in 1921 during the worst natural disaster in Europe in 500 years.
The personal journey of three generations of a Japanese American family, including their stint in internment camps during World War II.
The contradictory history of a dam that became a statement of American power and prestige.
in 1931, Grace Hubbard Fortescue received a one-hour sentence for murdering a local Hawaiian accused of raping her daughter.