According to Wikipedia (gotta love it) Philanthropy (from Greek φιλανθρωπία) etymologically means “love of humanity” in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing “what it is to be human” on both the benefactors’ (by identifying and exercising their values in giving and volunteering) and beneficiaries’ (by benefiting) parts.
This idea of philanthropy, this love of humanity, as a virtue, a sign of goodness, still exists today though the definition has probably changed somewhat. Commonly, these days philanthropy is described as the private donation or giving of mainly money though also goods or property, to public causes. There are many famous philanthropists including Bill Gates, Oprah and in Australia, Dick Smith and Graeme Wood.
The culture of giving varies quite a bit though. When I lived in the USA, it seemed that philanthropy for those who had the capacity was almost an expected and done thing, kind of like voting in Australia – an obligation and a duty to your community. The Australian culture of philanthropy appears quite different, on the surface at least. While rich people globally gave away between 3 and 11 per cent of their assets; in Australia that number was less than 2 per cent. Some say that this is an unfair comparison, that Australians prefer to give quietly and anonymously. There is no doubt though that their is no expectation in Australia of the wealthy to give back.
But you don’t have to be famous or rich to be a philanthropist. In fact, technological democracy has made it even easier for each and every one of us to give to causes we care about. Studies even show that people in the middle and lower socio-economic brackets often give more percentage wise than those in the higher brackets.
This coming month, Binky will partner with the Queensland Community Foundation to celebrate Philanthropy Week with a photo challenge on giving.
QCF Philanthropy Week is a celebration to raise awareness of philanthropy in Queensland, honour community members and organisations who make outstanding philanthropic contributions, and encourage support for charities and community organisations operating throughout Queensland.
Philanthropy Week will be held from 15-19 June 2015, including the flagship Philanthropy Awards lunch on Thursday 18 June.
QCF’s Philanthropy Awards recognise Queenslanders who have made an outstanding contribution to charity or community service through giving time, generating funds, and/or encouraging others to give.