Matthias W. Baldwin was a devout member of the Presbyterian Church and a consistent donor to religious and secular charitable causes throughout his life. In 1824 he was a founder of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
In 1835, he donated money to establish a school for African-American children in Philadelphia and continued to pay the teachers' salaries out of his own pocket for years thereafter. Baldwin was an outspoken supporter for the abolition of slavery in the United States, a position that was used against him and his firm by competitors eager to sell locomotives to railroads based in the slaveholding South.
Baldwin was a member of the 1837 Pennsylvania State Constitutional Convention and emerged as a defender of voting rights for the state's black male citizens.Discussion thread here.