After President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in April 1945, the Treasury Department decided to honor him by placing his portrait on a coin.
There’s a reason the dime was chosen for the honor.
In August 1921, Roosevelt and his family were vacationing in New Brunswick, Canada, and after a few days, he fell ill. He had contracted polio and would never be able to walk again.
Five years later, Roosevelt started the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, named after the therapeutic springs he had used to try to fight polio. Twelve years later, in 1938, having served more than one term as president, he renamed the organization the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP).
Roosevelt used his position as president to appeal to the public for help. Singer Eddie Cantor jokingly urged people to send dimes to the president to help him with the cause. More than 2.68 million dimes were sent to the White House.
This deluge of dimes led to the NFIP’s new name—the March of Dimes.
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