Most people have heard the word philanthropy before, but they may not know exactly what it means. Philanthropy is the act of giving back to society, usually in the form of donations or time spent volunteering.
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The definition of a philanthropy
A philanthropy, in the modern sense of the word, is an organized effort to promote the welfare of others, especially by charitable donations of money, goods, or services. A philanthropy typically takes the form of a nonprofit organization.
The history of philanthropy
The term “philanthropy” is derived from the Greek words for love of humanity. Philanthropy encompasses a range of activities, from giving money to charitable causes to volunteering time and expertise to help solve social problems.
A brief history of philanthropy reveals that giving has always been a part of human nature. In ancient times, wealthy Greeks and Romans made charitable donations to support religious institutions and public works projects. From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, religious orders such as the Catholic Church and the Knights Hospitaller provided care for the sick and needy.
The concept of philanthropy began to evolve in the 17th and 18th centuries with the rise of Enlightenment thinking. Philosophers such as John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that people had a natural obligation to help those in need. This philosophy inspired individuals like Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Carnegie to establish foundations that would continue their charitable work after their deaths.
The modern philanthropic sector emerged in the 19th century with the establishment of organizations like The Salvation Army and the Red Cross. These organizations relied on donations from the general public to fund their work. Major advances in technology and transportation made it easier for people to donate money and goods to charity, and philanthropy became an increasingly important part of society.
Today, philanthropy is more important than ever before. With global challenges like poverty, climate change, and disease, charities are working hard to find solutions. Individuals can support these efforts by donating money, volunteering their time, or advocating for causes they care about.
The different types of philanthropy
There are many different types of philanthropy, and each one plays an important role in making the world a better place. Here are some of the most common types of philanthropy:
1. Educational philanthropy: This type of philanthropy helps to fund educational institutions and programs.
2. Social welfare philanthropy: This type of philanthropy helps to fund social welfare programs that help people in need.
3. Health-related philanthropy: This type of philanthropy helps to fund health-related research and programs.
4. Environmental philanthropy: This type of philanthropy helps to fund environmental protection and conservation efforts.
5. Arts and culture philanthropy: This type of philanthropy helps to fund arts and cultural institutions and programs.
The benefits of philanthropy
When you give to a charity, you can take a charitable deduction on your federal income tax return. A deduction reduces the amount of income taxes you owe. Your marginal tax rate is the rate you pay on your last dollar of income; thus, if your marginal rate is 28 percent and you make a $100 charitable contribution, your tax savings would be $28.
In addition, many states offer a state income tax deduction for charitable contributions. For example, if you give $100 to charity and live in a state with a 5 percent tax rate, your state income tax savings would be $5. So, your total savings from making the $100 contribution would be $33 ($28 + $5).