National Philanthropy Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

National Philanthropy Day is annually celebrated on November 15th in the United States. The purpose of this day is to recognize the great contributions of philanthropy and those people active in the philanthropic community for the enrichment of our world. 

This day signifies the importance of working together for the common good. Philanthropic deeds come in all different shapes and sizes which includes charitable giving, volunteering, etc. On National Philanthropy Day, no act of kindness goes unnoticed. 

The day provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of giving and all that it has made possible. This day celebrates the endless daily contributions individuals and organizations across the world make to countless causes and missions. 

Event National Philanthropy Day
Date November 15, 2022
Day Tuesday
Significance The day recognize the great contributions of philanthropy
Observed by United States

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National Philanthropy Day History: 

The first corporation founded in the Thirteen Colonies was Harvard College (1636), designed primarily to 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 Enlightenment.  

Benjamin Franklin was one of the most popular 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. By reading it Franklin attempted to motivate his fellow Philadelphians into projects for the betterment of the city: examples included the Library Company of Philadelphia (the first American subscription library), the fire department, the police force, street lighting and a hospital.

By the 1820s, newly rich American businessmen were initiating philanthropic work, especially with respect to private colleges and hospitals. 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 many business tycoons who wished to indulge towards philanthropic work. 

The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) created the National Philanthropy Day in 1986 which was organized by the philanthropist Douglas Freeman of Orange County, California, and formalized by then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who signed a proclamation recognizing November 15 as National Philanthropy Day in the US. In 2012, the Government of Canada signed the National Philanthropy Day Act into law, declaring November 15 as the annual celebration of National Philanthropy Day as well.  

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National Philanthropy Day Significance: 

Philanthropy can be broadly defined as love for humankind. It is derived from the Greek words “philos,” which means loving and “anthropos,” which means humankind. A person who practices philanthropy is called a philanthropist. The purpose of philanthropy is to improve the wellbeing of humankind by preventing and solving social problems. Philanthropy is not the same as charity. Charity focuses on eliminating the suffering caused by social problems, while philanthropy focuses on eliminating social problems for the betterment of the society. 

Philanthropy is important because it provides opportunities. Philanthropy supports projects and endeavors that may be too unpopular or controversial to gain the widespread support of the general public or the government. For this reason, philanthropy is a very important part of a democratic society. Philanthropists do not answer to the government or to the public, so are able to freely choose the people and projects to receive their support. For example let us take the Aaron Diamond Foundation and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Between 1986 and 1997, the Aaron Diamond Foundation spent $220 million to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City (Council on Foundations, 2003).  

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Philanthropy has played a very important role in American society. We directly benefit from philanthropy by the use of libraries, schools, hospitals, performing arts centers and museums supported by the generosity of philanthropists. Philanthropy may also support scientific research, scholarships, civil rights endeavors, social services and other things beneficial to society. Philanthropy is the heart of the philanthropic sector. The philanthropic sector is supported by philanthropic funding and the philanthropic sector exists to carry out philanthropic activities. The goals of philanthropy and the philanthropic sector are to promote the wellbeing of humankind by solving social problems.

For as long as humankind exists, there is always going to be a need to help each other out. National Philanthropy Day acknowledges the importance of stepping up and doing your part to not only help those less fortunate, but to also ensure that the world as a whole is a better place to live. With so much negativity in the world, hearing about the good that goes on is certainly refreshing. National Philanthropy Day motivates us to get out and engage with others in order to make a positive impact in our world instead of just complaining about it. 

National Philanthropy Day Celebrations: 

To celebrate this day, try to volunteer for a philanthropic work to make a difference in the society. Go out and find a volunteer opportunity that interests you. Possibilities range from visiting sick patients in the hospital, packing boxes for a food pantry, and even gardening at your local park or anything else just make sure that you do something good for the society on this day. 

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Donations to organizations and charities working towards philanthropic work in the society is another great way to mark the celebrations of this day. In this way you will be able to contribute financially for helping the needy ones through these organizations or charities if you don’t have time or medium to do it yourself. 

Well even if you are out of cash then also you don’t have to worry as you can carry out many deeds and actions too to help others and this counts as philanthropic work too! You can be certain that your gesture will be appreciated greatly by those you help. Even if your actions or the sum of money you donate doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to you.  

Most Searched FAQs on National Philanthropy Day: 

1. When is National Philanthropy Day celebrated? 

National Philanthropy Day is annually celebrated on November 15th in US. 

2. What does philanthropy literally mean? 

Philanthropy — literally “love of mankind” — refers to active efforts to promote human welfare. Philanthropies provide resources to individuals and organizations, in the form of gifts, grants, technical support, capacity building, in-kind donations, and community development and strategic planning. 

3. What is an example of a philanthropy? 

For some people, philanthropy means donations of money, often large sums, to support or create university buildings, research centers, or fund four-year college scholarships. For others, acts of philanthropy mean an annual donation to a local theater, food pantry, or public school.

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