'A Brief History of Charitable Giving' provides some handy information on the timeline of financial assistance that has been given out through the ages. Originating from as early as 2500 B.C., charitable aid began with the Ancient Hebrews and has continued as needed since.
Philanthropy is a major part of today's society and acts as a large, multi-functioning business. Many sectors of aid are devoted to raising funds to help people across the world, as well as in their nations and in their own communities. Incentives to continue the tradition of charitable giving have been instituted by government in the form of tax deductions.
It is during times of hardship that aid becomes most apparent, as we are seeing now in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.