Philanthropy is a practice of donating to foundations or nonprofit organizations for the purposes of bettering the collective good. Because philanthropic gifts often come in the form of monetary donations and are typically given to support charitable causes, philanthropy can be thought of as synonymous with charitable giving. However, these terms often have different connotations in their colloquial usages. This entry outlines the history of philanthropy, its participation rates, and its impact of philanthropy on individuals. Also covered are changes to philanthropy as the life course extends and millennials become donors.

For most Americans, philanthropy brings to mind large donations, such as millions of dollars donated to fund building projects on university campuses. Alternatively, charitable giving tends to bring to mind smaller donations contributed to benefit ...

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