“Philanthropy” means “love of humanity”.
Derived from the Ancient Greek phrase philanthropia, the word was first coined by Aeschylus, a famous writer of Greek Tragedy more than 2,500 years ago. The National Philanthropic Trust noted that “from the very beginning, civilizations around the world were built with the idea that empathy – caring for and understanding the needs of others – was critical to shared survival and growth”. Specifically in the United States, modern philanthropy is best known through the generosity of famous philanthropists, such as George Peabody and Andrew Carnegie.
Today, though, philanthropy has evolved from solely monetary giving and now means “generosity in all its forms and is often defined as giving gifts of ‘time, talent and treasure’ to help make life better for other people”. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5571, which officially made November 15 National Philanthropy Day. Provided by The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum, an excerpt of Proclamation 5571 highlights the importance of not only National Philanthropy Day, but also philanthropy –
“Throughout our history, we Americans have displayed this trait through our generous charitable giving and our spirit of neighbor helping neighbor. We help each other, and we reach out to help people all over the world. Our tradition of voluntarism embodies a great deal of caring, initiative and ingenuity in solving problems and improving our communities. It is one of our greatest strengths as a people.”
How You Can Celebrate Philanthropy
With the history of philanthropy in mind, there are many ways you can celebrate philanthropy everyday of the year, including, but not limited to –
- Volunteering at your local nonprofits.
- Serve on nonprofit Board of Directors or Committee.
- Sharing a social media post from your favorite nonprofit.
- Tell your friend, colleague or family member about why the work of your favorite nonprofit is meaningful to you.
- Learn more about the work of a nonprofit you might be unfamiliar with.
- Monetarily donate a gift that is meaningful to you.
Remember what Melinda Gates once said – “Philanthropy is not about the money. It’s about using whatever resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world”.
How AgeWell Services Will Celebrate Philanthropy
On November 15, AgeWell Services of West Michigan will be releasing a thank you video to everyone who supports AgeWell Services through their time, talent and treasure. Without your incredible support, we wouldn’t be able to support older adults in redefining their age through meals, motion and morale. You make this work possible. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.