There are many definitions of Philanthropy. It’s origins lie in ancient Greece but today it is often over-used as yet another popularised buzz word!
Our values around it are based on the Ancient Greek meaning which is essentially the Love of humankind in general. It is the desire to promote the welfare of others.
Human beings who do something good for others are characterized as philanthropists.
It is a deliberate affection for fellow humans and is typically shown in the form of a contribution of time, skills or money.
Each one of us will have come into contact with philanthropy at some point in our lives, whether on the giving or the receiving end or both. This is because it is characterised by every voluntary private action that is done as an act of kindness with no intention of profiting from it. Whether that’s helping a neighbour move house, pet sitting for a friend, making a donation to a cause or supporting a social movement.
But it doesn’t stop at just the well-being of our fellow humans. The original ideals of philanthropy extended to also include the true POTENTIAL of humankind. The Greeks adopted “PHILANTHROPY, the love of humanity” as an educational ideal, whose goal was excellence. It was all about each person achieving the fullest self-development, of body, mind and spirit. This was education in the truest sense.
According to the ancient Greeks the aim of philanthropy was improvement in the quality of human life. It was therefore philosophical and contained both metaphysics (mind, body, spirit) and ethics. It asserted that our nature and purpose in life is educational—to make ourselves more fully humane through self-development, pursuing excellence of mind, body and spirit.
So it’s an act that is done to better humanity and usually involves some sacrifice as opposed to being done for a profit motive. This is the original sentiment of the word and the one that we subscribe to.
Philanthropy for us is based from the heart. It is not just about money. It is about seeing each other as being united and as being inextricably linked whether you’re the CEO of a major company or a mother in Africa struggling to feed herself and her kids. We all have the same basic need of shelter, food, security and love. For us Philanthropic actions are about expressing ethical behaviour towards each other.
Philanthropy exists worldwide and has its roots in the very beginning of our civilisation. Every world religion has philanthropic rules and recommendations but philanthropy sits above that and is free from political, religious or dogmatic affiliations.