The twentieth century has seen the emergence of philanthropy as an institution of vast wealth and of far-reaching influence on the spiritual, cultural, intellectual, and physical life of American society. The private donor has been the architect of this development. He selects, in accordance with his own estimate of the public interest, the purposes to be served, and regulates the extent and duration of that service by the flow of his wealth. For its part in the process, government has played the indulgent parent, encouraging, subsidizing but rarely interfering except to forestall the grossest excesses. Society has no cause to complain. It has been repaid incalculable dividends for the privileges granted. Nevertheless, donor autonomy sustains a system which is something less than perfect in that all funds are not put to useful service
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