CHAPTER ONEHISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES

Peter Dobkin Hall

Although charitable, educational, and religious organizations are thousands of years old (for example, the Roman Catholic church) and some in the United States (for example, Harvard College) were founded in colonial times, the concept of “nonprofit organizations” as a unified and coherent “sector” dates back only to the 1970s.

In fact, over 90 percent of nonprofit organizations currently in existence were created since 1950. Worldwide, most nongovernmental organizations (or NGOs, as they are called outside the United States) have come into being in the past thirty years. Nonprofits and NGOs are the most rapidly growing organizational domain ...

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