Charitable Philanthropy Around The World
“Charity is a supreme virtue, and the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts.“
Charity and philanthropy are like two sides of the same coin. Charitable philanthropy is one of the oldest paradigms of philanthropy. Its primary focus is to meet the immediate needs of people be it hunger, shelter from the natural elements, health care, education or anything that is accessible to you.
Like I said, you don’t need to be rich to be a philanthropist. Most of us have means to help another person who is in need. Charitable philanthropy is simple as it doesn’t require huge wealth, expertise or a complex organization.
Whilst the media portrayals of modern-day philanthropy may suggest it’s a recent phenomenon, nothing could be further from the truth.
One need only look back to ancient times to see that patronage of the arts, and the establishment of provisions for basic welfare support for the poor and sick members of society, has historical precedent.
However, it can be argued that the father of modern-day philanthropy was the noted 19th-Century Scottish-born U.S. Industrialist Andrew Carnegie, whose Foundation exists to this day, providing a wide range of scholarships, bursaries, and aid packages to those requiring help.
Carnegie, as with so many other philanthropists (including FundaKohli Founder Wendy Kohli), was convinced that lifelong learning and education, together with discipline, focus and an appetite for hard work, were the keys to a happy, successful and productive life. He also believed strongly that wealth should be used to founding or funding schools and colleges, libraries, hospitals, public parks, concert halls, public baths, and other institutions open to and for the benefit of all One of the reasons why one of Carnegie’s first-ever donations was to build a library in his home town of Dunfermline, Scotland.
A fundamental shift in the public consciousness as regards philanthropy and fund raising for the needy came in 1985 with the Live Aid series of concerts (which followed their hit record success of the previous Christmas to raise funds and awareness.
Held in Wembley Stadium, London, and Philadelphia, U.S.A., and featuring a glittering array of the household-name celebrity music stars of the era (all of whom performed for free), the event was watched by an estimated worldwide television audience of three billion people, and raised over £100 million in funding for charitable causes. This marked a radical departure from traditional fundraising methods, even though many of these (particularly direct mail campaigns) are still very effective.
In our 21st-Century world, philanthropy has blossomed in a multitude of fields.
On an environmental level, the work of Sir Richard Branson, Felix Dennis (noted British magazine publisher, entrepreneur, and man behind the “Forest of Dennis” reforestation scheme), and The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, has ensured that humanity’s most pressing problem, that of climate change, has been placed of the forefront of public consciousness.
Their efforts to inhibit climate change (by the decrease in use of fossil fuels, reforestation projects and encouraging recycling campaigns), together with the efforts to eradicate poverty, disease, racist and ethnic discrimination and lack of education, as well as enhancing the human rights of oppressed indigenous groups, women and children from the lowest social strata of society, have brought them deserved acclaim and much success in their endeavors.
But such successes are only the first step, for all of us, on a long, hard, but ultimately highly-rewarding journey. A journey to be taken one step, one donation and one action at a time.