It is reasonable to assume in this day and age that the problems of the world seem astronomical. In times of stress, it can certainly be hard to see what impact, if any, one person’s philanthropy might have on the world. Contrary to popular belief, the humanity of a species is one of the reasons we overcome strife, and helping others is a huge part of that. 

People often interchange the terms charity and philanthropy, but they are two different ways of helping society. Charity is more of an action-oriented call-to-arms. It is usually a sudden, hands-on response to help meet immediate needs. Hurricane Katrina would be a good example. Afterward, people were desperately in need of supplies, food, and medical care, among other vital necessities. Unlike charity, philanthropy is usually aimed at large-scale donors in order to tackle societal or global problems on a large scale. Simply put, the upper echelon of society, or the one percent, are the people who have it within their means to make the world a better place. This applies not only in times of crisis but also by creating long-term solutions for the betterment of all by tackling issues at their root causes, even if these causes aren’t in your own backyard. 

The reason philanthropy still matters in this day and age of miscommunication and isolationism is that we still rely on people who have it within their means to keep this planet sustainable. Consistent, philanthropic efforts aimed at improving societal or environmental issues will eventually lead to a more successful outcome for everyone, regardless of race, caste level, or nationality. A good example of this is funding a school on the other side of the planet in order to empower impoverished children through education.

Depending on the number of donors and the amounts contributed, there are different causes that will bring in more money than others. The largest recognized cause is education, which includes school funding, as well as arts and humanities, which includes exposing more people to the world around them. Broadening the mind is the same methodology that goes into the encouragement of travel. Having a glimpse into other worlds and seeing a point of view that is different from your typical fellow citizens can be life-altering. This is what will hopefully cause future generations to use as a catalyst for change.