Many people confuse philanthropy with the word charity. It is a logical mistake since they do have similarities. For one, they both exist in order to help others. The major underlying difference between the two methodologies is that charity is usually a hands-on, emergency response to a tragedy or crisis. People generally send food or medical supplies or other forms of assistance. Charities do also exist outside of these critical times, but only to stockpile necessities in case of these events. Some good examples of well-renowned charities include the United Way, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Feeding America, among others.
Philanthropy, on the other hand, is meant to handle the root causes of societal and environmental issues. Groups are not in place to swoop in for emergency aid in times of crisis, but rather they exist for the betterment of the species by funding change for the long-term success of all humankind.
In terms of teaching the concept of philanthropy, most would argue that it would fall under the genre of civic and social responsibility. Many would say that is too high-brow a notion for children at the high-school level and should be reserved for higher education. Many people feel that today’s teenagers are already more mature than previous generations because of their exposure to the realities of the world on a 24/7 basis, and the access to directly communicate with philanthropists because of social media.
Another reason proponents believe in teaching philanthropy as early as possible is because young minds are typically less cynical than adults who live in the real world and have personal expenses and a hierarchy of needs to worry about. It is very hard to broaden your scope of compassion for people thousands of miles away when you are budgeting monthly to provide food, shelter, and your own emergency fund.
Philanthropy is being taught at the graduate level. Over 75 schools now offer philanthropic studies as a major, with graduates planning on either managing their own nonprofit organizations or assisting in raising funds for current groups. The graduating class of 2021 is expected to produce a whole new crop of people who are optimistic about the changes they can help make in the world.