The Rockefeller Foundation and the Public's Perception of Its Trustworthiness, 1911-1913
Foundations are important organizations within the nonprofit world. However, they are not always the most trusted organizations. By looking at one of the first modern foundations, The Rockefeller Foundation, and its struggle to gain a national charter, we can gain insight into where the trust issues originated. By examining newspaper and magazine articles spanning the years 1911 through 1913 in six major city newspapers and three major national magazines, we can see how the public discussed the Rockefeller Foundation during its fight to gain a national charter. Although the public did not fully trust the Rockefeller Foundation, it seems that most agreed that with certain restrictions placed on the charter by Congress, the foundation should be voted into existence. Fear of philanthropic paternalism led the public to want an adversarial relationship between the foundation and the government so that the government could regulate the foundation and prevent it from abusing its money and power.
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