Philanthropy could be twinned with charity. Charity is a concept that for humanity is the maximum act of benevolence. It is a virtue that has no date or borders. Its origins could be located at the beginning of religious teachings. And from there, those types of actions have derived in philanthropy as we know it today. Probably at the state level, it is an integral hallmark of the American nation, shaped by its leaders, from colonizers to modern billionaires like Buffet, Gates or Zuckerberg.
The tradition of “giving” is in the social fabric of the nation, in its DNA, as a formal act of giving money to help society. This practice is already found in one of the founding fathers of the nation, Benjamin Franklin, an icon of private business. In his days, he understood that with the privilege of doing good, he was rewarded by exercising goodness. When he died in 1790, he thought of future generations bequeathing to charity two donations of 500 kgs. of sterling silver, one of them to the city of Boston, and the other to the city of Philadelphia.
Franklin with his donations paved the way for Philanthropy
According to his instructions, an amount of this money and its dividends could not be used until after two hundred years. While this legacy was on hold, a path opened by Franklin began, which evolved and extended through the young nation. After the civil war, rapid industrialization accumulated immense wealth in the hands of a few, creating a period of unprecedented inequality.
Carnegie with the publication of his essay “Wealth” in 1889 modern shaped philanthropy
In response, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie began scientific philanthropy, seeking to find the underlying social disgrace in its causes, rather than its symptoms. In his lifetime, Carnegie donated more than $ 350 million, which would be the equivalent of approximately $ 9 billion today. His 1889 essay “Wealth,” now better known as “The Gospel of Wealth,” effectively shaped modern philanthropy, a model that the wealthy continue to follow.
Two decades later, the term Foundation appears, as a charity, based and sustained by the wealth that companies generate.
John D. Rockefeller created the Rockefeller Foundation in the early 1900s, which would soon become the world’s largest charity. It provided World War II with more foreign aid than that provided by the federal government itself. Since then, other lesser-known men and women have played an essential role in the evolution of philanthropy.
One of these heroes, Julius Rosenwald, made his fortune as an entrepreneur, creating the Sears Foundation. With the help of your donations, 5,300 schools were built in the states of a segregated South. And it opened classrooms to a whole generation of African-American students, including Maya Angelou and Congressman John Lewis. They broaden the concept of philanthropy, which is no longer just limited to the wealthy.
However, the culture of generosity is not only altruistic; there are tax incentives to encourage the rich, and philanthropy also helps to improve the public image.
The answer to this culture of generosity is not only altruistic. We know that there are tax incentives to encourage the wealthy to make donations. And also that philanthropy has long helped improve the public image of everyone, from those who do not respect the rights of their workers to the technology elite. Just before his death Martin Luther King JR.
He wrote: “Philanthropy is recommended,” but this fact should not justify the philanthropist to ignore the economic circumstances of injustice to make philanthropy a necessity. Certainly, King brought a central contradiction: philanthropy was born from the market, conceived and sustained by the return of capital,
In our days, corporate social responsibility arises, which has not yet permeated. Only a minority of companies exercise this modality, making part of the income they generate revert to the benefit of the society that has helped them achieve it.
Donations at the institutional level are currently undergoing a radical transformation. Priscila Chan and Mark Zuckerberg made headlines for committing a $ 45 billion Facebook stock through a corporate social responsibility entity. Along with many other emerging donors, they are exploring other approaches to donating their fortunes outside of their Foundation’s traditional borders.
Twenty-six years ago, when the last of Franklin’s donations became available, it had multiplied by $ 65 million. More than the sum, this represented a great principle: “We are custodians of the public trust, even though our capital has been derived from private companies. Our maximum obligation is to ensure that the system works for the majority in a more equitable and fairer. This belief is essential to our national character. The greatest strength of this country is not the fact of perfection, but rather the act of perfecting it.
The history of philanthropy in the states of America should encourage us all to follow in their footsteps. It has been encouraging and an example of inspiration. We can all collaborate with a social cause: companies because they are going to obtain tax benefits, and they are going to improve their reputation. And on an individual level, in addition to the gratitude that it means to support a noble cause, we are also going to be exempt by at least 35%. In this way, we will all win. But we are also going to feel the reward of benevolence, which is goodness. Social commitment should be everyone’s duty.
Hamed Bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi’s milestone work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
In the Middle East, a celebrated personality which continues to win distinction in his incredible philanthropic efforts remain Hamed Bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Founder of Al Suwaidi Foundation ASF and Member of the house of Al Suwaidi HoS,. He is an Emirati entrepreneur, who has spent his entire career leading three key organizations in philanthropic, volunteer, and public interest works.
Hamed is keen about diminishing boundaries between UAE and the rest of the world and has laid efforts in promoting his native art and culture. Hamed’s efforts has allowed a plethora of local artists to showcase their works on the global stage. Similarly, he has also made significant progress in connecting foreign art and cultural aspects to UAE. Milestone progress has been made in diplomatic ties between the UK and UAE without needing political intervention. For example, recently, His Excellency Patrick Moody, British Ambassador to the UAE presented the iconic Lubin Family Private Collection’s Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy by Ary Scheffer.