April 17 is the anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s death. I thought it appropriate then to link back to a post I did titled St. Benjamin, about a man who was in many respects ahead of his time, including in relation to non-profits.
Franklin had the idea for matching grants 200 years before the Ford Foundation did. Back in 1751, he convinced the Pennsylvania Assembly to give $2,000 toward a hospital if $2,000 could be raised privately.
At the time, the idea was consider controversial, even Franklin was a little uneasy about his idea. As I wrote:
Well for one, political opponents felt the move was too conniving. I suppose it was because they didn’t believe he could raise the money and had tricked the Assembly. Franklin noted that knowing that their money would essentially doubled, they gave more.
Franklin himself referred to his innovative idea as a political maneuver so he might have felt a little uneasy about it himself. The success of his plan eased any troubled thoughts he might have had. “…after thinking about it I more easily excused myself for having made use of cunning.”