The press called the donations received after this org.’s 1938 founding “a silver tide which actually swamped the white house”

In the latest episode of “Jeopardy!” that airs on April 17, 2024, the Final Jeopardy question was in the category “Organizations.” Contestants were presented with the intriguing clue: “The press called the donations received after this org.’s 1938 founding ‘a silver tide which actually swamped the White House‘.”

This clue referred to an overwhelming response to a newly founded organization, marked by an extensive influx of donations, described metaphorically as a “silver tide.”

What is the March of Dimes?

The correct answer to this challenging question was “What is the March of Dimes?” This organization, initially called the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to combat polio. The term “silver tide” specifically refers to the flood of dimes sent to the White House as donations, spurred by a radio appeal by entertainer Eddie Cantor.

Historical Context of the March of Dimes

The March of Dimes was established in response to the widespread polio epidemic that affected thousands across the United States, including President Roosevelt himself. The foundation aimed to fund polio research and vaccine development and to aid those afflicted by the disease. The public’s reaction was extraordinary, illustrating a unified front against a feared health scourge. The overwhelming flow of dimes became a powerful symbol of collective action and empathy, fostering a nationwide campaign that would eventually fund the development of the polio vaccine.

The choice of the dime as the donation vehicle was inspired by Eddie Cantor’s radio appeal, which cleverly played on the organization’s original name. Cantor urged Americans to send dimes directly to the President at the White House. This initiative not only demonstrated the public’s trust in Roosevelt but also their commitment to eradicating polio.

Impact on Public Health and Legacy

The funds raised by the March of Dimes were instrumental in the research and eventual development of the polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1955. This breakthrough was a significant achievement in public health, dramatically reducing the incidence of polio around the world. The success of the March of Dimes showcases the power of collective public effort and charity, setting a precedent for future health campaigns.

Today, the organization has shifted its focus towards preventing birth defects and infant mortality, but the legacy of its initial mission continues to resonate. The story of the “silver tide” is a testament to the impact that dedicated funding and public support can have on scientific research and health crises. It serves as a powerful example of how a unified effort can lead to monumental achievements in health and medicine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *