January 3, 1938: The March of Dimes is Founded
On this day in 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes) to fund polio treatment and research. In the mid-twentieth century, the March of Dimes Foundation pioneered a new approach to philanthropy, raising money a dime at a time from millions of small donors.
The nonprofit enlisted poster children, celebrities, presidents, and other partners in their high-profile campaigns.
Follow the quest to fight polio with American Experience’s “Polio Crusade” photo gallery.
Photo: Barbara Councilor of the White House mail room pours out and dips her hands in dimes, 1939 (Library of Congress).