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Google doodle honors philanthropist George Peabody

Born into poverty, Peabody became a respected banker, then gave most of his fortune to charity.


George Peabody never forgot the poverty he was born into, leading the wealthy American-British financier to be widely regarded as the "father of modern philanthropy."

One of seven born into a poor Massachusetts family, Peabody entered banking after a career in the dry goods business. He soon became the most noted American banker in London -- then the world's financial capital -- and helped establish international credit for the US. The business empire he created included a firm that would eventually be known as J.P. Morgan and Co.

But it's for his financial support of educational initiatives that he's best remembered, establishing a practice later followed by Andrew Carnegie, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Oracle co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison. To honor his philanthropic achievements, Google dedicated its doodle to Peabody on the 151st anniversary of being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his generosity.

Through gifts and legacies, it's believed he distributed approximately $9 million of his $16 million fortune during his lifetime to worthy causes in the US and UK.

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