Leading Change. Transforming Communities.

Defining the P-Word

Defining the P-Word
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It’s a tricky word. Ask a dozen people what they think the word “philanthropy” means and you’ll likely get twelve different answers, including, as we did recently, “Isn’t that the study of bugs?”

Well, no. In fact, the root of the word actually means, “love of humanity.” Philanthropy, then, in its original definition (from the Greek) includes caring for others, nourishing them, and improving the quality of life for everyone around us. Some today would also include the word benefactors in their definition—as in, those folks whose values lead them to give their money and time to benefit others for the common good. Those who receive such gifts are, of course, beneficiaries.

A good example is when Tom Jones came to the office last spring to present us with a check. His family business in Danvers, Cherry Farms Creamery, had sponsored an ice cream ‘breakfast’ that drew about 1,000 people and raised money for one of ECCF’s scholarship funds. Kathy Moriconi, our grants coordinator, was happy to receive the check and pose with Tom for this photo. Such giving from—and for—the community is what the Foundation is all about, a practical expression of philanthropy and what drives the ECCF mission.

So who’s a philanthropist? Well, as one Stanford professor recently said: “I define a philanthropist as anyone who gives anything, such as time, expertise, money, compassion or passion in any amount to positively transform our world."

We think that’s a pretty good definition of philanthropy—and what we hope ECCF is all about. From the good folks serving our communities in the nonprofit world to the generous donors who create opportunities for others, philanthropy expresses our “love of humanity” in tangible ways. Like an ice cream breakfast that helps young people get an education—and sure tastes good in the process!

What’s your definition?

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