To give away money is an easy matter and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large, and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter.” ~Aristotle

Very few people in Kenya describe themselves as philanthropists. Indeed few can even define what the word means. But all seem able to agree that it somehow applies to people such as Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey and definitely not to them. Yet when we look at the definition of the word we find many of us are undeniably philanthropists.

The word philanthropy is thought to have been coined some 2500 years ago by the ancient Greeks and quite simply refers to ”effort or inclination to increase the well-being of mankind as by charitable aid or donations”. In reality philanthropy is simply about people giving their time, help and care to a cause they support in order to make the world a better place to live in.

According to recent qualitative research conducted on behalf of KCDF almost all of us are instinctively philanthropic, no matter our wealth or background. The research sought to identify attitudes towards philanthropy and explore the resulting behaviours in order to understand how best to tap into and grow philanthropic activities in Kenya.

Recognizing that distinct cultures may have differing exposures and opportunities, and respond differently to need, the research explored the attitudes and behaviours of Africans, Europeans and Asians separately. The results show that while all cultures believe in “giving back to society” their method of giving and the pay-back expected is indeed quite different by culture. But while how we give and what we give may differ significantly, our reason for giving is unwaveringly consistent – we want to improve the lives of people less fortunate than us! [read more – Philanthropy by Jane Delorie – 132K – PDF]

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