Definition of philanthropy in English:



mass noun
  • 1The desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.

    ‘he acquired a considerable fortune and was noted for his philanthropy’
    • ‘No one has the money to invest in philanthropy unless there is some business payback.’
    • ‘The editors of BLACK ENTERPRISE recognize that philanthropy is the giving of money, time, and talent.’
    • ‘There is no harm in self-interest reinforcing philanthropy if the outcome is the benefit of mankind, especially in poorer countries.’
    • ‘At these ceremonies, her generosity and philanthropy towards students with special needs was recognised with an honorary degree.’
    • ‘Another implication of prioritising private philanthropy over state welfare is to suggest that if you're rich, you * should * help those on the other end of the scale.’
    • ‘In Africa, private philanthropy is buying vaccines for measles and hepatitis.’
    • ‘Still, regardless of the motivation, their philanthropy benefited people in need and deserves appreciation.’
    • ‘In Europe, they are more likely to see private philanthropy as complementary to state action.’
    • ‘Making a passionate plea for more public philanthropy in arts, she is of the opinion that industrial houses should take up this cause.’
    • ‘Both novels expose middle-class desires for social control and the inability of philanthropy to alleviate poverty.’
    • ‘No society has ever devoted so many of its resources to philanthropy for humanitarian and social benefit.’
    • ‘He has betrayed those who, out of genuine philanthropy, donated money to his campaigns.’
    • ‘I have come to appreciate the private philanthropy that underlies all artistic organisations in the United States.’
    • ‘A municipal donation sets a good example of philanthropy at work, but a poor one of financial responsibility concerning taxpayers' money.’
    • ‘A law that promotes the activities of corporate philanthropy would certainly help - but these are medium or long-term solutions.’
    • ‘It was certainly not pure philanthropy which made them display all that untiring fervor in order to curb the slave trade on the high seas and so halt the development of countries which still maintained slaves.’
    • ‘Walker practiced generous philanthropy in support of black men and women; and she encouraged her sales agents to do likewise.’
    • ‘There is nothing morally wrong with a profit motive except where it masquerades as moral philanthropy.’
    • ‘Hunter's spirit of philanthropy is one shared by many of his fellow countrymen and women - self-made people driven to give something back.’
    • ‘The greater generosity of Conservatives reflects the value they place on individual philanthropy above publicly-funded welfare services.’
    benevolence, generosity, humanitarianism, public-spiritedness, altruism, social conscience, social concern, charity, charitableness, brotherly love, fellow feeling, magnanimity, munificence, liberality, largesse, open-handedness, bountifulness, beneficence, benignity, unselfishness, selflessness, humanity, kindness, kind-heartedness, big-heartedness, compassion, humaneness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American count noun A philanthropic institution; a charity.
      ‘a philanthropy was incorporated to help oldsters obtain benefits like pension rights’
      • ‘During the past three decades, however, a number of Jewish philanthropies have been established with the explicit purpose of mobilizing Jewish money to assist non-Jewish communities.’
      • ‘Flexner became secretary of the new Rockefeller Foundation's General Education Board, which heavily funded Johns Hopkins and a few other medical schools and led other philanthropies to follow suit.’
      • ‘In May 2000, the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the nation's largest philanthropies, launched the Pew Oceans Commission, co-chaired by New Jersey Gov.’
      • ‘The association will manage the Community Service Fund, a philanthropy created to support the community service projects.’
      • ‘Local philanthropies, chiefly the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Lenfest Foundation and the Annenberg Foundation, pledged to help raise $150 million to guarantee the Barnes's future.’


Early 17th century: via late Latin from Greek philanthrōpia, from philanthrōpos ‘man-loving’ (see philanthrope).