Philanthropy constitutes an integral and important part of American culture. Due to the characteristic of the United States notion of limited government and Puritan legacy, it played a special role in American society. It influenced the public life in a great variety of ways, producing a specific system of relations between the public and private spheres. This book analyses the importance of private giving in the United States on the example of contributions to higher education and research. It provides a historical overview of the development of American philanthropy from charity to foundation philanthropy, and finally to the emergence of the third sector. The study is illustrated with selected examples, indicative of the particular stage of the development of philanthropy.