Charity and philanthropy are competing and alternative philosophies.

“Philanthropy” differs from “charity” in the following ways.

Charity:

• Developed under early religious concepts of welfare.

• Only accessible once hardship has already set in.

• Preventing hardship is not a charitable purpose by definition (law and tax reforms are changing this slowly, but this breaks with the original definition).

• Creates a cycle of dependency, for example a soup kitchen may be a charitable purpose whereas creating new jobs is not a charity.

• Charity must be apolitical and cannot engage in activities seeking to influence government or change the law (law and tax reforms are changing this slowly, but this breaks with the original definition).

Philanthropy:

• Developed as non-religious obligation between individuals and the community.

• Ready to help once hardship has already set in, but truly committed to preventing hardship before it starts.

• Preventing hardship is a core philanthropic purpose by definition.

• Seeks to break cycles of dependency, for example, creating jobs may avoid the need for a soup kitchen.

• Philanthropy is a private activity free to be political and can seek to influence government or seek to change the law if it helps the community.

More simply: Charity is a hand-out, philanthropy is a hand-up.

 

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