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In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Society's emphasis on supporting genealogical organizations and their research drew criticism from people who wanted to see it play a greater public service role. In 1917, the May Van Rensselaer episode brought considerable public attention to the Society's failings in this area. Although some progress was made during the tenure of Alexander Wall, the $4.5 million Thompson bequest in 1934 gave the Society such freedom and independence that for nearly forty years, it was accountable to no one. During this period, the Society's investment proceeds accounted for more than 90 percent of its total annual income. Because it was receiving no government support, Society lead­ership could congratulate itself when it provided even the most minimal level of service to the public. This attitude affected officials on both sides: the Society's officers, who were proud that their institution accepted no public assistance, and city officials and the public, who came to perceive the Society as elitist and arro­gant. When the situation changed in the early 1970s and the Society could no longer live solely off its endowment income, the Society faced a very long climb to rehabilitate its reputation sufficiently to merit public attention. In fact, it was never able to make that climb; government and state support became available only because the Society was near death.

Another major factor that has adversely affected the Society's potential for re­ceiving regular government operating support has been the changing economic and political climate. As the economic environment has grown increasingly diffi­cult for nonprofit institutions generally, more of them have appealed to the city for help. The process for receiving annual support from the city's Department of Cultural Affairs depends on being included in the Cultural Institutions Group. The CIG is composed of thirty-two cultural institutions located in all five bor­oughs of the city. Because these thirty-two institutions divide up what is a greatly constrained fiscal pie, it is in their interests to prevent new members from being admitted into the group. Furthermore, because of historical patterns, institutions focused on minority issues and institutions in the outer boroughs are underrepresented in the present distribution of members. Together, these factors illustrate why it is very difficult for an institution with an elitist and exclusive reputation, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, to qualify for new support today.

Community outreach

One way for the Society to overcome its stuffy and elitist image would be to pro­vide services to its surrounding community. There is no question that public offi­cials regard such outreach as a prerequisite for any kind of continuing support. What is fascinating is how difficult it has been for the Society to overcome its rep­utation for arrogance. The generally accepted characterization of the Society as an institution that has made no effort to attract and engage the public with its ex­hibitions and programs is simply not true. One can argue that its efforts have been unsuccessful, but one cannot assert that no such efforts have been made. Most recently, the Jackie Robinson exhibit, the "Why History?" program, and the edu­cational initiative with O'Shea Junior High are but a few examples of the Soci­ety's attempts to open its doors and thereby improve its public image.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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Source:  OpenStax, The new-york historical society: lessons from one nonprofit's long struggle for survival. OpenStax CNX. Mar 28, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10518/1.1
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