What is Philanthropy?

Exploring the MCF website, you will see the term philanthropy used frequently. But what does philanthropy mean?

Philanthropy can be defined in many ways. The word comes from the Greek, meaning "love for humanity." Modern definitions include the concept of voluntary giving by an individual or group to promote the common good and improve the quality of life.

Here in the United States, the term "philanthropy" is also used to describe the granting of money to nonprofit organizations by foundations and corporations. This type of giving is often called organized philanthropy or grantmaking.

For a light-hearted and touching look at the meaning of philanthropy, check out the "Philanthropy is..." video.


Co-produced by the Minnesota Council on Foundations, The Minneapolis Foundation and the Minnesota Community Foundation and The Saint Paul Foundation

This popular, fast-paced video offers a realistic — and often humorous — glimpse of how the public views philanthropy, using a series of "people in the street" interviews shot in the Twin Cities plus interviews with local donors. Discover the true, and often not so true, meaning of philanthropy.