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What Makes a Philanthropist?

Judith Coles - 31 January, 2017


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When I first considered the word “philanthropist” I always thought of acclaimed philanthropic moguls such as the Kielburger brothers and their Free the Children (WE Charity) initiative or Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and donor of billions of dollars to global health and education. I thought of individuals with tremendous amounts of money and large teams traveling the globe to aid those in need. The idea of considering myself as a philanthropist seemed far out of reach unless I had millions of dollars to donate or the time and resources to create my own charitable campaign. Little did I know that ANYONE can be a philanthropist.

Being a philanthropist is not only about large donations of money or world-wide movements. It begins with small steps and positive changes that you can make within your own community. It stems from the actions you make to help another person or the time you set aside to volunteer at a charitable organization. It is evident that the Kielburger brothers and Bill Gates have made extraordinary advances in improving the lives of people around the world and they also serve as inspiration for anyone looking to make a change in society. But what about the people who have neither the money or the support to build their own charitable campaign?

With this, I came across an article from the Huffington Post called “Being a Philanthropist Without Money”. The article outlined how having a philanthropic mindset is not solely built on extreme wealth or having a team of followers. It is highly applicable for the university student on a budget but with a passion for positive social change. I think this article is important to share because it proves that philanthropy is not simply about donating money but rather donating the time and energy to make a positive impact in someone’s life.