The Power and Impact of Giving

Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others. It is expressed by the generosity of monetary giving to people or causes that focus on helping others solve problems over the long term. While philanthropy may seem new, its roots lie in the ancient world, in all belief systems, and has endured for centuries. It is part of the fabric of our modern world.

What is the difference between philanthropy and charity? When we drop a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas-time, that is charity — a way to provide immediate relief to the people whom the Salvation Army help. Our response is usually driven by emotions.

Photo Credit: Eric Onyiego/USAID Kenya

When we give a monetary gift to bring about positive change in the world and in people’s lives over the long term, it is philanthropy. Philanthropists give of their money or their time, and often both. Our response is usually driven by the desire to make a difference, and often, as an opportunity to “give back” for having good fortune in our life.

Delivering bottled water to a drought-stricken area in East Africa is charity, but building wells for poor East African villages is philanthropy. 

Charity is giving to relieve an immediate problem. Philanthropy can be defined by the love of mankind. It is planned giving designed to address the root cause of a problem that can be solved over a period of time.

“Wealth is not new. Neither is charity. But the idea of using private wealth imaginatively, constructively, and systematically to attack the fundamental problems of mankind is new.”

John Gardner (1912 – 2002), founder of Common Cause

As we move headlong into a new year, let 2022 be our year of selfless charitable giving, meaningful philanthropic giving, and above all things, a year of “love of mankind.” 

Time, Talent, and Treasure: making life better for other people.

As always, we invite readers of our newsletter to allow the Stewardship Foundation to be good stewards of God’s abundance and your partner in life-affirming change in our communities.

Philanthropy

After almost two years of quiet “pandemic worthy” Christmases, we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and (knock on wood) it’s not a train.

Even Pope Francis is getting into the Christmas spirit with a contest that inspires young people to create new songs inspired by Christmas and its values. When asked what he hoped to achieve, the Pope said that music is “not alienating; it is neither superficial nor escapist. It broadens the heart, opens it to gratuitousness…” 

Fifty-six years ago, Pope St. Paul VI offered a similar message:

“This world in which we live needs beauty so as not to fall into despair.”

This Christmas, we wish you the beauty of giving back. We encourage ourselves, our families, our friends, colleagues and clients to set your sights on social causes that are in tune your own values, and to encourage others to do so as well.

A great way to give back is through philanthropy. If you think philanthropy is only for the rich and powerful, you’d be wrong. Philanthropy is something that anyone can do. All it takes is having the desire to promote the welfare of others and then achieving it by generously donating money to a good cause. 

There’s a difference between philanthropy and charity. For example, an act of charity is when you spot a homeless person on the street and give him five dollars. Philanthropy focuses on helping that homeless person solve the problems that required them to ask for a handout in the first place. Both are good. 

Philanthropy is long-term and strategic; it often involves making multiple gifts to help people over a number of years. As someone once said:

Delivering bottled water to a drought-stricken village in East Africa is charity, but philanthropy is building a well.

Our job at the Stewardship Foundation is to be good stewards with our donors’ money, and our skills as charitable gift consultants in a public foundation is proven. Please pass this along to a friend that may be interested in our services, and have a beautiful, quiet, spirit-filled, rich-in-spirit Christmas!