The word philanthropy is Greek and means “love of mankind.” According to the dictionary of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Levy and Cherry, 1996), philanthropy is (1) the love of humankind, usually exposed y an effort to enhance the well being of humanity through personal acts of practical kindness or by financial support of a cause or causes. such as a charity (e.g. the American Red Cross), mutual aid or assistance (e.g. service clubs and youth groups), quality of life (e.g arts, education and the environment) and religion; and (2) any effort to relieve human misery or suffering, improve the quality of life, encourage aid or assistance, or foster the preservation of values through gifts, service, or other voluntary activity, any and all of which are external to government involvement or marketplace exchange. Philathropy and volunteerism are uniquely American traditions, and their pervasive presence in our lives is often taken for granted.
Even in today’s world, with the many demands made on our time by family, work, study and leisure activities, people are undertaking volunteer work.