what do you mean

some of my initial thinking to the question:

What do you mean when you use the term “community philanthropy”?

Giving circles are one iteration of community philanthropy. By melding community and philanthropy into a single phrase, it gives it a different look, a different taste, and a different feel. Community philanthropy is a category within a larger umbrella of philanthropy.

Community philanthropy heralds time and talent as much as treasure. In our society, we have been raised and taught to value money more than people. People embody time and talent. Whereas, money is the embodiment of treasure. Much of society — individuals, institutions, families, cultures — places a higher value on money than people. This is also the case in much of philanthropy.

Much of philanthropy prioritizes money.
In community philanthropy we prioritize people.

Therefore, we are walking a different path. It goes against the grain to embrace people as much or more than money. In capitalism, we ought to place a higher value on money than on the relationships with, respect for or well-being of others.

Community philanthropy begins with people.
Institutional philanthropy begins with money.

That is not to suggest that no money is necessary. It just depends greatly whether the initial parameters are determined by the content of one’s character and constitution of an individual, or by the size of the checkbook that he/she brings. When one’s contributions or heft is measured purely in monetary terms, then all other aspects of who we are as people, and what we possess, and what we have the potential to give is minimized. Oftentimes, that is diminished to nothing, simply because someone does not have the amassed wealth or financial resources necessary to open doors.

There is nuance within this dichotomy….
In order for the people to bond, and continue to engage with one another, money serves as a supplementary ingredient that assists individuals


When you have people without money, what do you have?
When you have money without people, what do you have?

It is not any random person off of the stree that is a philanthropist. A philanthropist is someone who dedicates time in their day to contribute to [needs of larger socity, common good, public good …]

Community philanthropy is defined by the actions of the people involved in it. A philanthropist who’s core motivations are the betterment of their community is a community philanthropist. Such a person, does not confine their philanthropic actions and identity only when engaging in philanthropic activities. A community philanthropist .
Other philanthropists, who are not community philanthropists, are motivated by ego, greed and other forms of hoarding behavior. They may hoard money, hoard power, or hoard attention (or are likely to hoard all three).




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Writer. Humanitarian on the long slog to freedom. Baker with many a sweet teeth. Outdoorsman who is a kid at heart.

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