Philanthropy is a practice that dates back thousands of years, and although it’s gone through several changes, the core of it remains the same—love for humanity. One of the more admirable activities people can do is philanthropy, which ultimately aims to develop a more equitable society.
I’ve previously talked about how you can use philanthropy to create real change, and now I’d like to expand on the bigger picture. Or rather, how you can go beyond philanthropy as a one-time decision and instead catalyze a culture of giving.
Philanthropy vs. Charity
Philanthropy and charity can seem like interchangeable words, and while they’re similar concepts, there’s one noticeable difference. If charity is a response to alleviate suffering, philanthropy is an effort to remove the cause of suffering.
Charity is important because it focuses on providing immediate help and relief to those who need it. Philanthropy, on the other hand, is a long-term effort to minimize the number of people in need of charity. It requires strategy and expertise to tackle the problem at the root, which is why having a vision is so important.
What Is a Philanthropic Vision?
Philanthropy focuses on the greater good but is also an act of personal satisfaction. A big cheque makes a momentary difference, but real change comes with planning, strategy, and a vision for the future.
Your philanthropic vision is uniquely yours—it encompasses your goals, ideals, and what gives you joy. Like anything else, effective philanthropy takes hard work, practice, and dedication. What are the beliefs that anchor you? Can you incorporate them into your philanthropic vision? Most importantly, can your philanthropy create a space for everyone to contribute to their community?
As a community changemaker, I am always looking to the future to see how I can not only create change but build a self-sustaining culture of development. Giving back is one of my goals, but I also aim to empower people at all levels in the community with the space and resources to adopt a culture of giving in their own lives.
The Importance of an Ambitious Vision
Change doesn’t happen overnight. If you plan on creating the change you want to see in the world, don’t be afraid to dream big. Philanthropy is a journey, and there are ways to maximize the impact you can make and get as many people involved as possible.
Take the Tamil Community Centre, for example. Planned to be a hub for culture, learning, and coming together, the Tamil Community Centre serves to memorialize the turbulent history of the Tamil community, while incorporating meaningful and nostalgic architectural elements.
Although a big endeavour, it is significant, purposeful, and will inevitably create a ripple effect of change that will both help people and allow them to help others. Whether you’re just starting on your philanthropy journey or whether you’re a practised philanthropist—know that you have the power to create change. The only question is how far you’re willing to go.
My personal journey with philanthropy began a century ago with my grand uncle, followed by my father, and now I uphold it with the Srinarayanathas Foundation. To learn more about how you can make a difference by giving back, visit my website!