Contributing Citizens
364 pages, 6 1/2 x 9
15 b&w photos, 4 charts, 2 tables
Release Date:01 Jan 2009
Release Date:20 May 2008
Release Date:01 Jan 2009

Contributing Citizens

Modern Charitable Fundraising and the Making of the Welfare State, 1920-66

UBC Press
Contributing Citizens tells the social, cultural, and political history of Community Chests, the forerunners of today’s United Way, to provide a unique perspective on the evolution of professional fundraising, private charity, and the development of the welfare state. Blending a national perspective with rich case studies of Halifax, Ottawa, and Vancouver, Shirley Tillotson shows that fundraising work in the mid-twentieth century involved organizing and promoting social responsibility in new ways, sometimes coercively. In the 1940s and 1950s, fundraisers adopted the language of welfare state reform and helped to establish both the notion of universal contribution and the foundation of community organization from which major social policies grew. Peopled by a host of forceful characters, this is a lively account of how raising money raised the level of Canadian democracy.


  • 2010, Shortlisted - Harold Adams Innis Prize, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Science
  • 2009, Shortlisted - John A. Macdonald Prize from the Canadian Historical Association
Shirley Tillotson is Chair of the Department of History at Dalhousie University.



Introduction: Public and Private in Welfare History

1 The Citizenship of Contribution: Taxation in the 1920s

2 The Technologies of Contribution: Taxation and Modern Fundraising Methods

3 Social Advertising and Social Conflict: The Community Chest Method in Vancouver, 1930-35

4 Race, Charity, and Democracy: Organizing Inclusion, 1927-52

5 How Charity Survived the Birth of the Welfare State

6 Reconstructing Charity: The Postwar Politics of Public and Private, 1945-66

7 Justice, Inclusion, and the Emotions of Obligation in 1950s Charity

Conclusion: Similarities, Differences, and Historical Change





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