National Philanthropy Day Date in the current year: November 15, 2024

National Philanthropy Day In the United States, November 15 is celebrated as National Philanthropy Day. Its main goal is to highlight the importance of philanthropy and charity for the development of society and to express gratitude to people who are actively involved in philanthropy and charity. The celebration is coordinated by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

The word “philanthropy” is derived from an Ancient Greek expression that means “love of humanity”. It refers to private initiatives for the public good, focusing on quality of life. The terms “philanthropy” and “charity” are sometimes used interchangeably, and although they can overlap, there is a difference between the two notions.

Charity aims to help people suffering from a particular social problem, while philanthropy attempts to search for the root cause of the problem and find a sustainable solution. In other words, charity tends to be a short-term response focused on rescue and relief, whereas philanthropy is a long-term strategic effort focused on rebuilding.

Philanthropy has existed since ancient times. In ancient Greece, for example, the prytaneis (executive members of the city council) were tasked with overseeing various philanthropic efforts among other things. Typical forms of philanthropy in those days were free public meals, the distribution of money to those in need, and the construction of public baths. By the way, philanthropy wasn’t always completely selfless. In ancient Rome, for example, helping those in need was one of the ways to achieve and maintain power and influence.

With the spread of Christianity, philanthropy became the prerogative of the church. After the onset of the modern era, many European rulers began to adopt laws to help the poor in order to prevent public unrest. By the 18th century, philanthropy had become more secular, and private charities began to emerge. Further development of philanthropy in the 20th century was boosted by World War I and the Great Depression.

Today, there are charitable and philanthropic organizations in almost every country in the world, not to mention major international organizations such as the Red Cross or the Peace Corps. The Charities Aid Foundation, a UK-based charity providing assistance to charities and their donors, publishes an annual report on how charitable various countries in the world are, titled the World Giving Index.

The scope and nature of giving are assessed based on three criteria: donating money to a charity, volunteering, and helping strangers or someone the helper didn’t know needed help. In 2020, the top 10 charitable countries in the world were Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Myanmar, Australia, Ghana, New Zealand, Uganda, Kosovo, and Thailand.

National Philanthropy Day (NPD) was originally conceived by Douglas Freemen in the 1980s. The first official celebration was held on November 15, 1986 after the official proclamation had been signed by President Ronald Reagan. NPD celebrates the daily contributions individuals and organizations across the world make to countless charitable and philanthropic endeavors to make the world a better place. Outside the United States, NPD events are held in Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

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National Philanthropy Day, observances in the United States, Association of Fundraising Professionals, charity and philanthropy