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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Howard wanted to make a documentary about the chef’s philanthropy. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 In March, Scott announced Project Heal, an event safety initiative with a $5 million funding commitment backed by a long-term series of philanthropy and investment efforts. Thania Garcia, Variety, 15 May 2022 During the conference, Google's philanthropy committed to support the ICLEI Action Fund with $ 7 million dollar fund. Daniela De Lorenzo, Forbes, 14 May 2022 Pamela Shifman is President of the Democracy Alliance, and the founder of Shake the Table, a new organization bridging philanthropy with movements for racial, gender and economic justice. Pamela Shifman, CNN, 12 May 2022 Jenny is a strong leader, and has done incredible work modernizing our approach in key areas like environmental sustainability, community investment, and philanthropy. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Apr. 2022 An invitation-only awards ceremony will be held Friday, April 29, to recognize Derby City MVPs who exemplify corporate citizenry, individual philanthropy and outstanding nonprofit work. Courtesy Of Louisville Sports Commission, The Courier-Journal, 19 Apr. 2022 Mentored as a young writer by Toni Morrison, the Seattle novelist is quietly upending philanthropy since divorcing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2022 Others pursue Carnegie-style philanthropy, dressing power in the vestments of generosity. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 14 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for philanthropy

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The first known use of philanthropy was circa 1623

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Philanthropy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for philanthropy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on philanthropy

Nglish: Translation of philanthropy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of philanthropy for Arabic Speakers


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