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In 19th century America, women who wanted to help fundraise for their church or community were limited in what they, as respectable women, could do. With most of their skills related to homemaking, making baked goods and needlework that could be sold, raffled, or auctioned conformed to the accepted gender roles at the time.

I have recently learned about a form of fundraising that put a twist on the traditional signature quilt—a quilt that has the names of loved ones embroidered, inked, or stamped on the blocks as a memorial for friends and family who were separated. In this case, though, donors would make a small contribution to have their names added to a block much like today’s Buy-A-Brick campaigns. Often the finished quilt was publicly displayed and then auctioned to maximize revenue.

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When you were a kid, did you ever Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF with the iconic orange box? That tradition started in 1950 when Mary Emma Allison, a school librarian, saw a UNICEF booth in a department store while shopping for winter coats for her children. The booth inspired an idea and Mary Emma drafted her three children into service going door-to-door collecting coins that Halloween.

"We were real little, and my mother was behind us, and we were trying to explain it, and there were these memories of terror, actually," said daughter Mary Jean Thomson. "But people are generous. We got money and candy, so my parents knew it was a go." [source]

The first year they collected $17 which they donated to UNICEF to help children in postwar Europe. What started as a family activity spread to the local community and in 1953, the U.S. Committee for UNICEF took the campaign national. By 2010, the year of Mary Emma's death, the campaign had raised $160 million.

"If you tell children how much power they have — a dime can buy 50 glasses of milk — that's really kind of powerful," Thomson said.

Photo: U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Flickr photostream: Historical Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

In 1858, the Australian colony of Victoria was young and rich. Neighboring not-so-rich colonies had been launching expeditions of discovery into the "barren void" of the interior for years and the leaders of Victoria wanted in on that action. The Exploration Committee of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria (later the Royal Society of Victoria) began making plans for an expedition in the name of progress and science. If there’s glory to be had, so much the better.

An anonymous donor (later revealed to be Ambrose Kyte) issued a £1,000 challenge grant to support the enterprise on the condition that £2,000 in matching funds be raised from the public within 12 months. A fundraising committee was established forthwith.

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