Philanthropy is an essential part of the fabric of modern society, and it is often driven by successful business owners who shift their focus after making their fortunes. As a striking example, a certain Russian business leader has devoted a significant amount of money and effort toward an assortment of different causes. Additionally, he works to improve relations between religious groups.
His work provides a good model for other philanthropists, who can learn from his strategic approach. He focuses on areas that he is passionate about. For example, he devoted millions of dollars to a distinguished organization that aids families dealing with mental health issues.
But What Is Philanthropy, Anyway?
Depending on which dictionary you check, the definition of philanthropy typically involves a motivation to support the public good and the giving of financial support to accomplish this. There is often a distinction made between philanthropy and other business activities, which have financial gain as their end. Moreover, government activities that center on the provision of services to the general public do not count as philanthropy.
Finally, you might wonder if philanthropy is identical to charity. While the two terms are frequently used in the same way, there are certain features that are unique to each. Some claim that charitable giving refers to donations that affect the direct “symptoms” of a problem, while philanthropy takes aim at the root cause of the social ill being targeted. Keeping that in mind, do not be surprised if you encounter the two words being used interchangeably in practice.
Interestingly, some philanthropists seem to be playing a one-up game. In some cases, very wealthy individuals donate significant fractions of their overall assets. Considering the growth of the extremely wealthy, it might not be a huge shock that this is happening. Whether through tech entrepreneurship or financial wizardry, there are many opportunities for resourceful individuals to attain wealth.
The Many Faces of Philanthropy
One element of philanthropic giving that stands out is the large number of worthy causes. The businessman mentioned above has not limited his donations to mental health, but also religious services, nuclear non-proliferation, and even art.
Other areas that givers commonly focus on include poverty, homelessness, AIDS and other diseases, and fighting world hunger. There are so many causes, it would be impossible to name them all.
The Road Forward
It’s hard to imagine our world without the help offered by philanthropists. In some ways, we all benefit from these peoples’ efforts, such as when we visit museums or use libraries constructed on donated funds. Moreover, controversial projects or issues can gain from individual support even when they are rejected by their local governments.