American society long has consisted, to an extraordinary extent, of voluntary associations of persons and organizations not-for-profit, but for the public good (pro bono publico). No other nation in the world even approaches the United States in number and activity of non-profit organizations. These organizations are based on the characteristic American tendency to form groups (to associate themselves) voluntarily, for the accomplishment of social, religious, educational, fraternal, economic, and other purposes. Americans are the greatest "joiners" in the world. American non-profit organizations, generally speaking, are a magnificent part of the society, despite the disturbing growth of abuses among them.
Howard L. Oleck,
Non-Profit Types, Uses, and Abuses: 1970,
19 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol19/iss2/26