Giving back to society and helping those in need have always been important to humans throughout history. The way we express philanthropy has evolved with the times.
Long ago, religion played a significant role in philanthropy. Donations were given to religious institutions to help communities. These donations were used to build schools, hospitals, provide food, and shelter for the poor.
In the Renaissance era, philanthropy shifted towards the arts and education. Wealthy patrons supported artists and scholars, funding the creation of artworks and establishing universities.
In the early 19th century, charitable foundations and organizations were established. These focused on alleviating poverty, education, and healthcare and included notable names such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Rockefeller Foundation.
In the 20th century, philanthropy became increasingly globalized – individuals like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have used their wealth to donate to causes including global health, education, and social justice with international aid groups following suit soon after.
The rise of technology represents an even greater shift in philanthropy; platforms like crowdfunding websites, social media campaigns, and online giving portals have been integral in democratizing the field - this has made it easier for more people all over the world to contribute towards any non-profit cause. This democratization of philanthropy hasn’t altered its core purpose however: it is still about empowering those less fortunate than ourselves whilst building a better future for tomorrow.