(redirected from Philanthrope)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Wikipedia.
Related to Philanthrope: philanthropist


philanthropy, the spirit of active goodwill toward others as demonstrated in efforts to promote their welfare. The term is often used interchangeably with charity. Every year vast sums of money are collected for invaluable philanthropic purposes, and an increasing number of people participate in the work of collecting money through highly organized campaigns, the purpose of which is fund-raising. In many countries philanthropy has been incorporated in government policy in the form of tax exemptions for contributions to charitable agencies. It has become so accepted that few now escape the demands of giving, and many important institutions are partly or wholly dependent on it.

In early times, charity was usually prompted by religious faith and helped to assure a reward in an afterlife, a notion found in Egypt many centuries before the Christian era. Throughout history, active participation in philanthropy has been a particular characteristic of Western societies. A traditional philanthropic ideal of Christianity is that of the tithe, which holds that one tenth of a person's income should go to charity. Charity is also important in Islam, Buddhism, and other religions. Foundations—institutions that distribute private wealth for public purposes—also have an ancient history.

At the end of the 19th cent. it was recognized that corporations could play a part in financing voluntary agencies when the Young Men's Christian Association set a new pattern for raising money: intensive drives over a short period of time, the use of sophisticated techniques to raise money, and an emphasis on corporation donations. Other voluntary agencies soon copied this pattern, and it is still the typical practice for large-scale fundraising. During World War I, coordination of effort became a trend in philanthropic activity. In the United States, this coordination took the form of Community Chests, which combined a number of charities under one appeal, now known as the United Way.

Today the organization and coordination of philanthropy has eliminated much of the spontaneity of giving. They have also brought about a more rational assessment of ability to give as well as the introduction of scientific methods of ascertaining community and national needs and of raising money. The focus has also shifted from the relief of immediate need to long-term planning to prevent future need.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


Appleseed, Johnny
nickname of John Chapman (c. 1775–1847), who traveled through the Ohio Valley giving away apple seeds and caring for orchards. [Am. Hist.: Collier’s, IV, 569]
Carnegie, Andrew (1835–1919)
steel magnate who believed the rich should administer wealth—for public benefit. [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 83]
19th- and 20th-century family name of American industrialists and philanthropists. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1159]
Mellon, Andrew (1855–1937)
financier and public official; left large sums for research and art. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1743]
Rhodes, Cecil (1853–1902) British
imperialist; left millions of pounds for public service; notably, the Rhodes scholarships. [Br. Hist.: NCE, 2316]
Rockefeller, John D(avison)
(1839–1937) American multimillionaire; endowed many institutions. [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 431]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A noter que la ceremonie a compris ,egalement, la graduation des fils des martyrs qui ont ete formes dans divers domaines, de l'artisanat, et la graduation de cent et deux veuves de martyrs dans la Technologie intermediaire avec un cout s'elevant a plus de cent cinquante milliers de livres fourni par la Chambre Zakat et l'organisation "Bir &Twassol" Le Wali a exhorte toutes les personnes de l'Etat et des philanthropes pour contribuer a assister les familles des martyrs .
A part le fils de famille riche ou en contact avec une grosse boEte qui accepte de jouer les philanthropes parce que ca amuse le patron, et les tres rares jeunes ayant la chance d'appartenir a une filiere grace a leurs resultats precedents, je ne vois par comment revoir en F1 des pilotes ressemblant a ceux que l'on a connus il y a quelques annees, qui se sont construits a leur sueur."
Financiers, philanthropes: vocations ethiques et reproduction du capital a Wall Street depuis 1970.
I am of those Who may be called authentic philanthropes.
Les editeurs n'etant pas necessairement des philanthropes, leur but etait de realiser une bonne vente de leur production et l'on peut raisonnablement supposer que les changements apportes au Dictionnaire de Vosgien repondaient a la demande d'une clientele qui attendait autre chose et que l'on cherchait a etendre.
Les mouvements de femmes de Calgary, de pair avec l'elite urbaine, de meme que les bureaucrates responsables de la planification et les philanthropes se sont concertes pour mettre le projet de l'avant, sans oublier d'y integrer la riviere.
Pierre Maraval likewise emphasized that pilgrims were drawn for generations to the shrine of Cyr and John because they saw the saints as "philanthropes" and philotchoi (lovers of the poor).
There are fascinating sections on Tucholsky's contacts with Freemasonry, his membership of the Berlin lodge 'Rudolf Penzig zur Morgenrote' from 1924, affiliations with the French lodges L'Effort' and 'Les Zeles Philanthropes' from 1925 onwards, and lectures delivered under their auspices (pp.