The Russian government stimulated the development of charity encouraging the persons engaged in this activity with different kinds of awards. In autocratic Russia, all forms of public activities were considered as state affairs and encouraged by authorities including participation in city, regional or professional organizations and charitable societies, boards of trustees of higher educational institutions, schools and colleges. Philanthropists who donated large sums of money or immovable property received honorary titles, insignia and various class privileges as awards.
Members of the boards of trustees enjoyed the right to wear the VIII rank uniform of the Ministry of Public Education, which corresponded to the rank of collegiate assessor according to the "Table of Ranks" by Peter I and enabled them to receive the title and privileges of hereditary noblemen together with it. Similar privileges were given upon receiving government orders of the 1st degree or the St. Vladimir Order of the IV degree. According to the Regulations on Awards, the St. Anna Order could be awarded to philanthropists who made the most significant contribution to the education system development. A special type of encouragement was provided for benefactors of the merchant class: it was general’s rank conferred for donating a significant collection to the Academy of Sciences.