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What is Philanthropy

Philanthropy simply stated means love of humanity. A more tangible definition though might refer to philanthropy as private initiatives for public good.

Giving away money to make a difference is a long established tradition, and even an expectation in many cultures. One of the world's most noted philanthropists, Andrew Carnegie, went as far to state that 'the man who dies rich, thus dies disgraced'.

Philanthropy is fundamentally a strategic, planned act. It differs from charity in that it is proactive and aims to address the root causes of social issues through long term, sustained investment to bring about systematic change. In practice, though, philanthropy and charitable giving are terms that are often used interchangeably and often the lines between the two are blurred.



Reactive/ responsive and ad hoc

Proactiven and planned- strategic

Addresses symptoms/immediate needs

Deals with symptoms/causes/systemic


Outcomes for social change




Investment & leverage

More immediate


Philanthropy is fun.

Philanthropy Wales celebrates giving in all of its forms. Philanthropy is for everyone, no matter what your personal wealth. It is a reciprocal act that benefits both giver and receiver ; it gives meaning and purpose to wealth; and it can help develop deeper bonds between you and your community.

Everyone is a philanthropist. Whether you put your spare change in a donation box, or help a stranger on the street, you're already a philanthropist.

Why not have a look at some of the links on our Effective Giving and Get Giving pages to see how your philanthropy can go further?

Dame Stephanie Shirley, the UK's Founding Ambassador for Philanthropy, sums up what philanthropy means to her:

"I put as much effort into learning to give money away wisely- and take just as much satisfaction- as I got from earning it in the first place. My wealth has transmuted from figures on a sheet of paper to something meaningful. Once classed as the seventh wealthiest woman in Britain (the arithmetic was doubtless wrong), I'm proud to have given away enough to take me out of the rich list....giving has made my wealth significant".

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