Philanthropy and Community

February 10, 2020

What is your community?... Who represents your community?

When you think about these questions you might immediately be inclined to think of a geographical space—consisting of individuals who reside in a specific locality.

But, community is much more than a physical location.

Community—derived from the Latin word communitas, meaning fellowship—in its simplest form is a group of individuals connected to one another by one or more attribute(s).

Each of us belongs to any number of different communities—a cultural community, a religious community, a creative community, an educational community, an identity-based community, an ideological community, and so on. All of us, however, belong to the one community that we call humanity. 

Philanthropy, which etymologically means ‘the love of humanity’ can be viewed as a tangible manifestation of the love that we have for our communit(ies).

Not surprisingly, then, when we begin to consider where best to direct our philanthropy (our time, our treasures, and our talents), we often look to our communities to provide us with insight.

Our communities alert us to what is lacking, what should be maintained, and what potential exists within each group that connects us to one another. Indeed, we often donate to individuals, organizations, and causes that we believe will, in some way, build our communit(ies) and uplift those who are representative of our communities.

In an earlier post, we mentioned the personal nature of philanthropy. Philanthropy, we suggested, is reflective of our own personal values, beliefs, and priorities. However, it should also be noted that philanthropy is shared as well. Philanthropy represents a sharing of our love with all those who have similar values, beliefs, and priorities as do we—our community. 

A Moment of Reflection:

  • Think about the communities to which you belong:
  • How do these communities represent you? Your values? Your beliefs? Your priorities? 
  • In what ways are you involved in each of these communities?
  • How can you contribute to each of these communities?

This month, we'll explore the intersection between community and philanthropy -- specifically, how to learn more about your communit(ies) to lead your philanthropy.