I have always considered myself a philanthropist—even before I knew there was a word for it. When I learned about the word philanthropy I looked it up to see if this was in fact what I thought it was and if I qualified. When I learned what the actual definition was, I definitely wanted to be and felt like, a philanthropist.
Phi·lan·thro·py (noun: fə-ˈlan(t)-thrə-pē)
- Goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially, active effort to promote human welfare;
- An act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes;
- An organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes.
I found I was not alone in my desire to be a philanthropist or in my uncertainty of what that meant and whether or not I was one. Joanne Fritz did a write-up on the book titled Inspired Philanthropy that provides steps to actually become a philanthropist and how it’s not about just writing a check once a year, but also about deliberate intention and care.
So I have settled on the fact that I am a philanthropist. I give a portion of my earnings, which is meaningful to me based on my income, however large or small it may be. When I was making $200 a week as a teenager and I would drop my change into the can at the checkout register at the candy store, I was being philanthropic. The action of dropping my change into the can was as deliberate as it gets, and it was because I cared to make a difference. I am not a millionaire but I am a philanthropist. Anyone can be a philanthropist—you too are most likely a philanthropist.