phi·​lan·​thro·​py | \ fə-ˈlan(t)-thrə-pē How to pronounce philanthropy (audio) \
plural philanthropies

Definition of philanthropy

1 : goodwill to fellow members of the human race especially : active effort to promote human welfare
2a : an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes
b : an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes

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How Should You Use philanthropy?

With its anthro- root, philanthropy means literally "love of mankind". Thus, philanthropy is giving money for a purpose or cause benefiting people who you don't personally know. (Animals are usually included as well.) Individuals have often set up their own permanent philanthropic organizations in the form of foundations. The greatest American philanthropists have included Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller, but tens of millions of us could be considered philanthropists on a much smaller scale.

Examples of philanthropy in a Sentence

For many years, Microsoft has used corporate philanthropy to bring technology to people who can't get it otherwise, donating more than $3 billion in cash and software to try to bridge the digital divide. — Bill Gates, Time, 11 Aug. 2008 Cooper, born in New York City in 1791, was himself an inventor and a hands-on industrialist, whose fortune got its start in the glue business, greatly expanded in the iron industry, eventually included more than half the telegraph lines in the United States, and was significantly invested in philanthropy and the cause of public education. — John Updike, New York Review of Books, 10 Aug. 2006 In conditions of anarchy, a crude and violent order, based upon brute force and psychopathic ruthlessness, soon establishes itself, which regards philanthropy not as a friend but as an enemy and a threat. — Theodore Dalrymple, National Review, 26 Sept. 2005 The family's philanthropy made it possible to build the public library. among the industrialist's philanthropies was a college scholarship fund for deserving students from the inner city
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Recent Examples on the Web

As a mother to three children who is also deeply committed to my efforts in philanthropy, my life is a balancing act. Tim Stack,, "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills adds two new faces for season 10," 29 Aug. 2019 The book is a mix of memoir and chronicles of how Mr. Rodman and others came to engage in philanthropy. Globe Staff,, "Don Rodman, whose philanthropy helped Greater Boston’s poorest children, dies at 88," 28 Aug. 2019 After her husband died in 2006, Molina de Pick became active in philanthropy, donating money for scholarships at UC San Diego and Mesa College. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Educator, social activist Gracia Molina de Pick dies at 91," 20 Aug. 2019 It's called the Momentum Fellowship and it was designed to prepare professionals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy. ... Anchorage Daily News, "Podcaster brings millennial Native voices to airwaves," 28 July 2019 Wells Fargo recently pledged to commit $1 billion in philanthropy through 2025 to address the US housing affordability crisis, including homelessness. Matt Egan, CNN, "Startup bank Aspiration is trying to be the anti-Wells Fargo. It's working," 25 June 2019 She also is involved in philanthropy at the department, helping raise money for the Lincolnwood baseball and softball association. Marissa Plescia,, "Lincolnwood awards two police officers Officers of the Year," 17 June 2019 Paul Allen’s holdings included a complex web of interests ranging from philanthropy to sports franchises to real estate and venture capital. John Canzano,, "John Canzano’s Top 25 most influential people in Oregon sports for 2019," 17 Aug. 2019 Walker’s great-great-granddaughter and biographer A’Lelia Bundles has worked to ensure that Madam Walker, along with her daughter A’Lelia Walker, are also celebrated as pioneers in philanthropy and activism. Essence, "Madam CJ And A’Lelia Walker Way In Harlem Is Finally Official," 22 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'philanthropy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of philanthropy

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for philanthropy

Late Latin philanthropia, from Greek philanthrōpia, from philanthrōpos loving people, from phil- + anthrōpos human being

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Statistics for philanthropy

Last Updated

3 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for philanthropy

The first known use of philanthropy was circa 1623

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More Definitions for philanthropy



English Language Learners Definition of philanthropy

: the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people


phi·​lan·​thro·​py | \ fə-ˈlan-thrə-pē How to pronounce philanthropy (audio) \
plural philanthropies

Kids Definition of philanthropy

1 : desire and active effort to help other people
2 : something done or given to help needy people
3 : an organization giving or supported by charitable gifts

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Comments on philanthropy

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