The evolution of Taiwan’s nonprofit sector and private donations closely relates to its political and social circumstances. According to Chen (2008), the earliest historical record of nonprofit groups dates back to the 1950s. Those groups were assembled by local elites, noble families or religious temples and provided poverty relief to those in need. Although they were not well organized, they are still regarded as the origin of nonprofit organizations in Taiwan. In 1949, the Nationalist government emerged in Taiwan and instituted the martial law, denying the right of free speech, assembly and association. Thus, the number of nonprofits grew slowly. During the 1970s and the 1980s, most nonprofit organizations were established through economic aid by other international organizations. Although the number of nonprofits thus increased, the members were mostly limited to a small number of middle-class people and elites of the society.
The Palgrave Research Companion to Global Philanthropy, Palgrave Macmillan, 455-472.