Philanthropy vs. Charity

June 30, 2017

The dictionary definition of "charity" is "generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering.” The dictionary definition of "philanthropy" is "goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare." Both words promote goodness. One takes that effort further. Personally, I think of “charity” as more of community service you might have done in high school. Things like volunteering for a local animal shelter or picking up trash on the coastline. Philanthropy is only something that I have recently become actively involved in, simply because I did not know what it was before.


                Photo: National Philanthropic Trust


Philanthropies are organizations that dedicate themselves to bettering an aspect of the world or of humanity. For example: the mission statement of Make-A-Wish International "is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy." The mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital "is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment." These are mission statements that cover a broad area and are attempting to change a fundamental issue across the board.


Philanthropies go beyond local aid and attempt to help the world or at least a country or specific group of people. The organization you should get involved in really depends on you. If you travel and move a lot and aren’t always in one place, you might want to look into a philanthropy which would be nationwide and where you could meet people involved all across the world. If you live in one area, selecting a specific charity that you feel close to in your community would be the perfect way to better your neighborhood. If you had a great childhood and want to bring that happiness and the activities you loved to underdeveloped areas or countries, you might want to think about a charity. If you love the local bands that always played downtown when you were a kid, you might want to decide to volunteer for the local children arts charity.


Photo: Huffington Post 


Of course these are just examples, but they show just how important each organization is to get involved in. I aim to spread awareness of what a philanthropy and what philanthropic work is. Many people simply do not understand the point of philanthropies or their goals. Many others think charity is a waste of time. I am here to tell you that with each little step, with each person that decides to dedicate just a few hours out of their week to these organizations, the world is on its way to being a better place.


My name is Meagan Donovan and I’m a 19 year old junior at Chapman University in Southern California. I am double majoring in theater studies and public relations/advertising, emphasizing my studies in the entertainment industry. A fun fact about me is that I’ve been performing since I was in third grade and I love writing my own songs, playing guitar, learning new dance forms, and acting in plays and musicals.

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