It has been interesting to see the reaction to my post about the meaning of philanthropy. Or, maybe, lack of reaction.
I was hoping to get lots of comments from people who would share their personal definitions of philanthropy and how they incorporate that meaning in their everyday lives. While I did receive a few comments on this site and on BlogHer, where I cross-posted it, I received more comments directly via email or in person.
What I have learned so far is that the meaning of philanthropy can be very personal and unique for different people. It is hard to describe, but you know it when you experience it (kind of like the definition of pornography). It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with money, but it helps if you’ve got it.
The more passionate you are about a cause, the more involved you will become.
It’s about treating others how you’d want them to treat you. Or, simply helping others – friends or complete strangers – because it’s the right thing to do.
One person suggested that the ideal of philanthropy something you can strive for, but not always live up to. It’s the striving that counts.
People give time, money and share their resources because they want to. Because they can. And, because they should.
I am reminded of the Guster video for Bad Bad World. It was produced by a contest winner in Portland, Maine right outside my place of work in the Old Port. It shows what strangers would do with just $10 to change a life.
So, you see, it isn’t such a bad bad world. Thanks to all who have helped me get a better hold on what philanthropy really means.