Philanthropy means the love of humanity. A conventional modern
definition is "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on
quality of life," which combines an original humanistic tradition with
a social scientific aspect developed in the 20th century. The
definition also serves to contrast philanthropy with business
endeavors, which are private initiatives for private good, e.g.,
focusing on material gain, and with government endeavors, which are
public initiatives for public good, e.g., focusing on provision of
public services. A person who practices philanthropy is called a
Philanthropy has distinguishing characteristics separate from charity;
not all charity is philanthropy, or vice versa, though there is a
recognized degree of overlap in practice. A difference commonly cited
is that charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social
problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of
the problem—the difference between the proverbial gift of a fish to
a hungry person, versus teaching them how to fish.
2.1 Great Britain
2.1.1 19th century
2.2 Red Cross
3 War and postwar: Belgium and Eastern Europe
4 United States
4.1 Andrew Carnegie
4.2 John D. Rockefeller
4.3 Ford Foundation
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
In the second century CE,
Plutarch used the Greek concept of
philanthrôpía to describe superior human beings. During the Roman
Catholic Middle Ages, philanthrôpía was superseded by Caritas
charity, selfless love, valued for salvation and escape from
Philanthropy was modernized by Sir
Francis Bacon in the
1600s, who is largely credited with preventing the word from being
owned by horticulture. Bacon considered philanthrôpía to be
synonymous with "goodness", which correlated with the Aristotelian
conception of virtue, as consciously instilled habits of good
Samuel Johnson simply defined philanthropy as "love of
mankind; good nature". This definition still survives today and is
often cited more gender-neutrally as the "love of humanity."
By 1920, the
Rockefeller Foundation was opening offices in Europe. It
launched medical and scientific projects in Britain, France, Germany
Spain, and elsewhere. It supported the health projects of the League
The Foundling Hospital. The building has been demolished.
In London prior to the 18th century, parochial and civic charities
were typically established by bequests and operated by local church
parishes (such as St Dionis Backchurch) or guilds (such as the
Carpenters' Company). During the 18th century, however, "a more
activist and explicitly
Protestant tradition of direct charitable
engagement during life" took hold, exemplified by the creation of the
Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and Societies for the
Reformation of Manners.
In 1739, Thomas Coram, appalled by the number of abandoned children
living on the streets of London, received a royal charter to establish
Foundling Hospital to look after these unwanted orphans in Lamb's
Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury. This was "the first children's charity
in the country, and one that 'set the pattern for incorporated
associational charities' in general." The hospital "marked the
first great milestone in the creation of these new-style
Jonas Hanway, another notable philanthropist of the era, established
The Marine Society
The Marine Society in 1756 as the first seafarer's charity, in a bid
to aid the recruitment of men to the navy. By 1763, the society had
recruited over 10,000 men and it was incorporated in 1772. Hanway was
also instrumental in establishing the
Magdalen Hospital to
rehabilitate prostitutes. These organizations were funded by
subscription and run as voluntary associations. They raised public
awareness of their activities through the emerging popular press and
were generally held in high social regard—some charities received
state recognition in the form of the Royal Charter.
Philanthropists, such as anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce,
began to adopt active campaigning roles, where they would champion a
cause and lobby the government for legislative change. This included
organized campaigns against the ill treatment of animals and children
and the campaign that succeeded in ending the slave trade throughout
the Empire starting in 1807. Although there were no slaves allowed
in Britain itself, many rich men owned sugar plantations in the West
Indies, and resisted the movement to buy them out until it finally
succeeded in 1833.
Financial donations to organized charities became fashionable among
the middle-class in the 19th century. By 1869 there were over 200
London charities with an annual income, all together, of about £2
million. By 1885, rapid growth had produced over 1000 London
charities, with an income of about £4.5 million. They included a wide
range of religious and secular goals, with the American import, the
YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association as one of the largest, and
many small ones such as the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain
Association. In addition to making annual donations, increasingly
wealthy industrialists and financiers left generous sums in their
wills. A sample of 466 wills in the 1890s revealed a total wealth of
£76 million, of which £20 million was bequeathed to charities. By
1900 London charities enjoyed an annual income of about £8.5
Led by the energetic Lord Shaftesbury (1801–1885), philanthropists
organized themselves. In 1869 they set up the Charity Organisation
Society. It was a federation of district committees, one in each of
the 42 Poor Law divisions. Its central office had experts in
coordination and guidance, thereby maximizing the impact of charitable
giving to the poor. Many of the charities were designed to
alleviate the harsh living conditions in the slums. such as the
Labourer's Friend Society founded in 1830. This included the promotion
of allotment of land to labourers for "cottage husbandry" that later
became the allotment movement, and in 1844 it became the first Model
Dwellings Company—an organization that sought to improve the housing
conditions of the working classes by building new homes for them,
while at the same time receiving a competitive rate of return on any
investment. This was one of the first housing associations, a
philanthropic endeavor that flourished in the second half of the
nineteenth century, brought about by the growth of the middle class.
Later associations included the Peabody Trust, and the Guinness Trust.
The principle of philanthropic intention with capitalist return was
given the label "five per cent philanthropy."
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and
International Committee of the Red Cross
In 1863, the Swiss businessman
Henry Dunant used his personal fortune
to fund the Geneva Society for Public Welfare, which became the
International Committee of the Red Cross. During the Franco-Prussian
War of 1870, Dunant personally led Red Cross delegations that treated
soldiers. He shared the first
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize for this work in
The French Red Cross played a minor role in the war with Germany
(1870–71). After that it became a major factor in shaping French
civil society as a non-religious humanitarian organization. It was
closely tied to the army's Service de Santé. By 1914 it operated one
thousand local committees with 164,000 members, 21,500 trained nurses,
and over 27 million francs in assets.
International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) played a major
role in working with POW's on all sides in World War II. It was in a
cash starved position when the war began in 1939, but quickly
mobilized its national offices set up a Central Prisoner of War
Agency. For example, it provided food, mail and assistance to 365,000
British and Commonwealth soldiers and civilians held captive.
Suspicions, especially by London, of ICRC as too tolerant or even
complicit with Nazi Germany led to its side-lining in favour of the UN
Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) as the primary
humanitarian agency after 1945.
In France, the Pasteur Institute had a monopoly of specialized
microbiological knowledge allowed it to raise money for serum
production from both private and public sources, walking the line
between a commercial pharmaceutical venture and a philanthropic
By 1933, at the depth of the Great Depression, the French wanted a
welfare state to relieve distress, but did not want new taxes. War
veterans came up with a solution: the new national lottery proved
highly popular To gamblers, while generating the cash needed without
American money proved invaluable. The
Rockefeller Foundation opened an
office in Paris and helped design and fund France's modern public
health system, under the National Institute of Hygiene. It also set up
schools to train physicians and nurses.
The history of modern philanthropy the European Continent is
especially important in the case of Germany, which became a model for
others, especially regarding the welfare state. The princes and in the
various Imperial states continued traditional efforts, such as
monumental buildings, parks and art collections. Starting in the early
19th century, the rapidly emerging middle classes made local
philanthropy a major endeavor to establish their legitimate role in
shaping society, in contradistinction to the aristocracy and the
military. They concentrated on support for social welfare
institutions, higher education, and cultural institutions, as well as
some efforts to alleviate the hardships of rapid industrialization.
The bourgeoisie (upper-middle-class) was defeated in its effort to it
gain political control in 1848, but they still had enough money and
organizational skill that could be employed through philanthropic
agencies to provide an alternative powerbase for their world view.
Religion was a divisive element in Germany, as the Protestants,
Catholics and Jews used alternative philanthropic strategies. The
Catholics, for example, continued their medieval practice of using
financial donations in their wills to lighten their punishment in
purgatory after death. The Protestants did not believe in purgatory,
but made a strong commitment to the improvement of their communities
here and now. Conservative Protestants Raised concerns about deviant
sexuality, alcoholism and socialism, as well as illegitimate births.
They used philanthropy to eradicate social evils that were seen as
utterly sinful. All the religious groups used financial
endowments, which multiplied in the number and wealth as Germany grew
richer. Each was devoted to a specific benefit to that religious
community. Each had a board of trustees; these were laymen who donated
their time to public service. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, an upper
class Junker, used his state-sponsored philanthropy, in the form of
his invention of the modern welfare state, to neutralize the political
threat posed by the socialistic labor unions. The middle classes,
however, made the most use of the new welfare state, in terms of heavy
use of museums, gymnasiums (high schools), universities, scholarships,
and hospitals. For example, state funding for universities and
gymnasiums covered only a fraction of the cost; private philanthropy
became the essential ingredient. 19th century Germany was even more
oriented toward civic improvement then Britain or the United States,
when measured in terms of voluntary private funding for public
purposes. Indeed, such German institutions as the kindergarten, the
research university, and the welfare state became models copied by the
Anglo-Saxons. The heavy human and economic losses of the First
World War, the financial crises of the 1920s, as well as the Nazi
regime and other devastation by 1945, seriously undermined and
weakened the opportunities for widespread philanthropy in Germany. The
civil society so elaborately build up in the 19th century was
practically dead by 1945. However, by the 1950s, as the "economic
miracle" was restoring German prosperity, the old aristocracy was
defunct, and middle-class philanthropy started to return to
War and postwar: Belgium and Eastern Europe
Commission for Relief in Belgium
Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB) was an international
(predominantly American) organization that arranged for the supply of
food to German-occupied Belgium and northern France during the First
World War. It was led by Herbert Hoover. Between 1914 and 1919,
the CRB operated entirely with voluntary efforts and was able to feed
11,000,000 Belgians by raising the necessary money, obtaining
voluntary contributions of money and food, shipping the food to
Belgium and controlling its there, For example, the CRB shipped
697,116,000 pounds of flour to Belgium. Biographer George Nash
finds that by the end of 1916, Hoover "stood preeminent in the
greatest humanitarian undertaking the world had ever seen."
Biographer William Leuchtenburg adds, "He had raised and spent
millions of dollars, with trifling overhead and not a penny lost to
fraud. At its peak, his organization was feeding nine million Belgians
and French a day.
When the war ended in late 1918, Hoover took control of the American
Relief Administration (ARA), with the mission of food to Central and
Eastern Europe. The ARA fed millions. U.S. government funding for
the ARA expired in the summer of 1919, and Hoover transformed the ARA
into a private organization, raising millions of dollars from private
donors. Under the auspices of the ARA, the European Children's Fund
fed millions of starving children. When attacked for distributing food
to Russia, which was under Bolshevik control, Hoover snapped, "Twenty
million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be
Philanthropy in the United States
The first corporation founded in the
13 Colonies was Harvard College
(1636), designed primarily to them train young men for the clergy. A
leading theorist was the Puritan theologian Cotton Mather
(1662–1728), who in 1710 published a widely read essay, Bonifacius,
or an Essay to Do Good. Mather worried that the original idealism had
eroded, so he advocated philanthropic benefaction as a way of life.
Though his context was Christian, his idea was also characteristically
American and explicitly Classical, on the threshold of the
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was an activist and theorist of
American philanthropy. He was much influenced by Daniel Defoe's An
Essay upon Projects (1697) and Cotton Mather's Bonifacius: an essay
upon the good. (1710). Franklin attempted to motivate his fellow
Philadelphians into projects for the betterment of the city: examples
Library Company of Philadelphia
Library Company of Philadelphia (the first American
subscription library), the fire department, the police force, street
lighting and a hospital. A world-class physicist himself, he promoted
scientific organizations including the Philadelphia Academy (1751) –
which became the
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania – as well as the
American Philosophical Society
American Philosophical Society (1743) to enable scientific researchers
from all 13 colonies to communicate.
By the 1820s, newly rich American businessmen were initiating
philanthropic work, especially with respect to private colleges and
George Peabody (1795–1869) is the acknowledged father of
modern philanthropy. A financier based in Baltimore and London, in the
1860s he began to endow libraries and museums in the United States,
and also funded housing for poor people in London. His activities
became the model for
Andrew Carnegie and many others.
Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy. Puck magazine cartoon by Louis
Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) was the most influential leader of
philanthropy on a national (rather than local) scale. After selling
his steel corporation in the 1890s he devoted himself to establishing
philanthropic organizations, and making direct contributions to many
educational cultural and research institutions. His final and largest
project was the Carnegie Corporation of New York, founded in 1911 with
a $25 million endowment, later enlarged to $135 million. In all,
Carnegie gave away 90% of his fortune.
John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller in 1885
Other prominent American philanthropists of the early 20th century
included John D. Rockefeller,
Julius Rosenwald (1862–1932)
Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage
Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage (1828–1918). Rockefeller
(1839–1937) retired from business in the 1890s; he and his son John
D. Rockefeller Jr. (1874–1960) made large-scale national
philanthropy systematic, especially with regard to the study and
application of modern medicine, higher, education and scientific
research. Of the $530 million the elder Rockefeller gave away, $450
million went to medicine. Their leading advisor Frederick Taylor
Gates launched several very large philanthropic projects staffed by
experts who sought to address problems systematically at the roots
rather than let the recipients deal only with their immediate
concerns. By the 1950s the
Rockefeller Foundation was investing
heavily in the Green Revolution, especially the work by Norman Borlaug
that enabled India, Mexico and many poor countries to dramatically
upgrade their agricultural productivity.
Main article: Ford Foundation
With the acquisition of most of the stock of the Ford Motor Company
the late 1940s, the
Ford Foundation became the largest American
philanthropy, splitting its activities between the United States, and
the rest of the world. Outside the United States, it established a
network of human rights organizations, promoted democracy, gave large
numbers of fellowships for young leaders to study in the United
States, and invested heavily in the Green Revolution, whereby poor
nations dramatically increased their output of rice, wheat and other
foods. Both Ford and Rockefeller were both heavily involved. Ford
also gave heavily to build up research universities in Europe and
worldwide. For example, in Italy in 1950 it sent a team to help the
Italian ministry of education reform the nations school system, based
on the principles of ‘meritocracy" (rather than political or family
patronage), democratisation (with universal access to secondary
schools). It reached a compromise between the Christian Democrats and
the Socialists, to help promote uniform treatment and equal outcomes.
The success in Italy became a model for Ford programs and many other
Ford Foundation in the 1950s wanted to modernize the legal systems
in India and Africa, by promoting the American model. The plan failed,
because of India's unique legal history, traditions, and profession,
as well as its economic and political conditions. Ford therefore
turned to agricultural reform. The success rate in Africa was no
better, and that program closed in 1977.
List of philanthropists
List of wealthiest charitable foundations
^ Robert McCully.
Philanthropy Reconsidered (2009) p 13
^ Johnson, S. (1979). A dictionary of the English language. London:
^ "Mitchell Kutney:
Philanthropy is what sustains the charitable
sector, not money". Blue & Green Tomorrow. 2013-06-18. Retrieved
2014-11-08. [better source needed]
^ Paul Weindling, "
Philanthropy and world health: the Rockefeller
Foundation and the League of Nations Health Organisation." Minerva
35.3 (1997): 269–281.
^ a b "Background - Associational Charities". London Lives. Retrieved
29 January 2016.
^ a b "The London Foundling Hospital". victorianweb.org. Retrieved 29
^ N. A. M. Rodger, The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of
Britain 1649–1815 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company: 2004), 313.
^ Louis Taylor Merrill, "The English campaign for abolition of the
slave trade." Journal of Negro History 30#4 (1945): 382–399. online
^ Christer Petley, "‘Devoted Islands’ and ‘that Madman
Wilberforce’: British Proslavery Patriotism during the Age of
Abolition." Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 39#3 (2011):
^ Donald Read, England 1868–1914: The age of urban democracy (1979),
^ Geoffrey Finlayson, "The Victorian Shaftesbury." History Today
(March 1983) 33#3 pp 31–35.
^ Read, England 1868–1914 p 130.
^ Siegel, Fred (1974). "Five Per Cent Philanthropy: An Account of
Housing in Urban Areas Between 1840 and 1914. By John Nelson Tarn…
[Book Review]". The Journal of Economic History. 34 (4, December):
1061f. doi:10.1017/S0022050700089683. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
^ Tarn, John Nelson (1973). Five Per Cent Philanthropy: An Account of
Housing in Urban Areas Between 1840 and 1914. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press. pp. xiv, 23, and passim.
^ "Henry Dunant". nndb.com. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
^ David P. Forsythe, The Humanitarians: The International Committee of
the Red Cross (2005).
^ Rachel Chrastil, "The French Red Cross, war readiness, and civil
society, 1866–1914." French Historical Studies 31#3 (2008):
^ J. Crossland, Britain and the International Committee of the Red
Cross, 1939–1945 (2014).
^ Simon, J (2007), "The origin of the production of diphtheria
antitoxin in France, between philanthropy and commerce", Dynamis: Acta
Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam, 27:
63–82, PMID 18351159
^ Nicolas Delalande, "Giving and Gambling: The Gueules Cassées, the
National Lottery, and the Moral Economy of the Welfare State in 1930s
France." French Historical Studies 40#4 (2017): 623–649.
^ William H. Schneider, "War, philanthropy, and the National Institute
of Hygiene in France." Minerva 41#1 (2003): 1–23.
^ Timothy B. "The Social Transformation of Hospitals and the Rise of
Medical Insurance in France, 1914–1943." The Historical Journal 41#4
^ Thomas Adam, Philanthropy, Civil Society, and the State in German
history, 1815–1989 (2016).
^ Andrew Lees, "Deviant Sexuality and Other 'Sins': The Views of
Protestant Conservatives in Imperial Germany." German Studies Review
23.3 (2000): 453–476.
^ Andrew Lees, Cities, Sin and Social Reform in Imperial Germany
^ Dimitris N. Chorafas (2016). Education and Employment in the
European Union: The Social Cost of Business. Routledge. p. 255.
^ Adam, Philanthropy, pp 1–7.
^ Adam, Philanthropy, pp 142–73.
^ George H. Nash, "An American Epic:
Herbert Hoover and Belgian Relief
in World War I," Prologue (1989) 21#1 pp 75–86
^ David Burner, Herbert Hoover: The Public Life (1979) pp 72–95.
^ George H. Nash, The Life of Herbert Hoover: The Humanitarian,
1914–1917 (1988) p 249.
^ William E. Leuchtenburg (2009). Herbert Hoover. p. 30.
^ Burner, Hoover pp 114–37.
^ Leuchtenburg (2009). Herbert Hoover. p. 58.
^ Frank M. Surface and Raymond L. Bland, American food in the world
war and reconstruction period : operations of the organizations
under the direction of Herbert Hoover, 1914 to 1924 (1932) online;
1034 detailed pages
Cotton Mather (1825). Essays to do Good addressed to all Christians,
whether in public or private capacities. p. 51.
^ Robert T. Grimm, ed. (2002). Notable American Philanthropists:
Biographies of Giving and Volunteering. pp. 100–3.
ISBN 9781573563406. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list
^ Grimm, ed. (2002). Notable American Philanthropists: Biographies of
Giving and Volunteering. pp. 243–45.
ISBN 9781573563406. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list
^ Schaaf, Elizabeth (1995). "George Peabody: His Life and Legacy,
1795–1869". Maryland Historical Magazine. 90 (3): 268–285.
^ Joseph Frazier Wall,
Andrew Carnegie (1970) pp 882–84.
^ Grimm, Robert T., ed. (2002). Notable American Philanthropists.
Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 277–79.
^ Ascoli, Peter M. (2006). Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears,
Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American
^ Crocker, Ruth (2003). Mrs. Russell Sage: Women's Activism and
Philanthropy in Gilded Age and Progressive Era America.
^ Peter J. Johnson and John Ensor Harr, The Rockefeller Century: Three
Generations of America's Greatest Family (1988)
^ Dwight Burlingame (2004).
Philanthropy in America: A Comprehensive
Historical Encyclopedia, vol 2. ABC-CLIO. p. 419.
^ Leon F. Hesser, The man who fed the world: Nobel Peace Prize
Norman Borlaug and his battle to end world hunger: An
authorized biography (2006).
^ Toenniessen, Gary; Adesina, Akinwumi; Devries, Joseph (2008),
"Building an Alliance for a
Green Revolution in Africa", Annals of the
New York Academy of Sciences, 1136: 233–42,
^ Mariuzzo, Andrea (2016), "American cultural diplomacy and post-war
educational reforms: James Bryant Conant's mission to Italy in 1960",
History of Education, 45 (3): 352,
^ Jayanth K. Krishnan, "Professor Kingsfield goes to Delhi: American
academics, the Ford Foundation, and the development of legal education
in India." American Journal of Legal History 46.4 (2004): 447–499.
^ Jayanth K. Krishnan, "Academic SAILERS: The
Ford Foundation and the
Efforts to Shape Legal Education in Africa, 1957–1977." American
Journal of Legal History 52.3 (2012): 261–324.
Adam, Thomas. Philanthropy, Patronage, and Civil Society: Experiences
from Germany, Great Britain, and North America (2008)
Burlingame, D.F. Ed. (2004).
Philanthropy in America: A comprehensive
historical encyclopaedia (3 vol. ABC Clio).
Curti, Merle E. American philanthropy abroad: a history (Rutgers UP,
Grimm, Robert T. Notable American Philanthropists: Biographies of
Volunteering (2002) excerpt
Hitchcock, William I. (2014) "World War I and the humanitarian
impulse." The Tocqueville Review/La revue Tocqueville 35.2 (2014):
Ilchman, Warren F. et al.
Philanthropy in the World's Traditions
(1998) Examines philanthropy in Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, and
Native American religious traditions and in cultures from Latin
America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. online
Philanthropy in England, 1480–1660: A Study of the
Changing Pattern of English Social Aspirations (1959) online
Kiger, Joseph C. Philanthropists and foundation globalization
(Transaction Publishers, 2011).
Petersen, Jørn Henrik, Klaus Petersen, and Søren Kolstrup.
"Autonomy, Cooperation or Colonization? Christian
State Welfare in Denmark." Journal of Church and State 56#1 (2014):
Reich, Rob, Chiara Cordelli, and Lucy Bernholz, eds.
democratic societies: History, institutions, values (U of Chicago
Philanthropy in America: A history (Princeton UP,
Look up philanthropy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Philanthropy.
NPtrust.org, History of Philanthropy, 1601–present compiled and
edited by National Philanthropic Trust
Types of charitable
Charitable trust / Registered charity
Mutual-benefit nonprofit corporation
Public-benefit nonprofit corporation
Charity and religion
Giving What We Can
Charity / thrift / op shop
Earning to give
List of charitable foundations
Master of Nonprofit Organizations
Wall of Kindness
Distribution of wealth
Geography and wealth
Wealth and religion
Lists of people
Wealthiest historical figures
Forbes list of billionaires
Companies by profit and loss
Largest companies by revenue
Largest financial services companies by revenue
Largest manufacturing companies by revenue
Public corporations by market capitalization
Cities by number of billionaires
Countries by number of billionaires
Most expensive things
The Giving Pledge
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer
Religion and poverty