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Wise Sayings … Quotes on Philanthropy

Philanthropy is defined as the desire to help others, through the donation of money, time or skills. Charity is defined as generosity and helpfulness to ease the suffering or need of others. History is filled with inspirational quotes and sayings about giving — here are a few we find particularly uplifting or enlightening.

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Acts 20:35

…social advance depends quite as much upon an increase in moral sensibility as it does upon a sense of duty…

Jane Addams

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Aesop

I will continue to distribute blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing and food on a regular basis, in the hope that my modest efforts will give some comfort to those people we are able to help.

Mohamed Al-Fayed

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

Maya Angelou

One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it.

Maya Angelou

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

Yet the true friend of the people should see that they be not too poor, for extreme poverty lowers the character of the democracy; measures therefore should be taken which will give them lasting prosperity; and as this is equally the interest of all classes, the proceeds of the public revenues should be accumulated and distributed among its poor, if possible, in such quantities as may enable them to purchase a little farm, or, at any rate, make a beginning in trade or husbandry.

Aristotle

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel nor man come in danger by it.

Sir Francis Bacon

We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.

James Baldwin

Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven.

Henry Ward Beecher

Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.

Sarah Bernhardt

Every dollar makes a difference. And that’s true whether it’s Warren Buffet’s remarkable $31 billion pledge to the Gates Foundation or my late father’s $25 check to the NAACP.

Michael Bloomberg

I’ve always respected those who tried to change the world for the better, rather than just complain about it.

Michael Bloomberg

The truth of the matter is: you can create a great legacy, and inspire others, by giving it to philanthropic organizations.

Michael Bloomberg

We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.

Louis D. Brandeis

Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them. It would be so much better if that money was spent in Africa – and it’s about getting a balance.

Richard Branson

The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.

Pearl S. Buck

We’re only here for a small amount of time and we want to see how much good we can do while we’re here and I always say that there’ll be… in the future, there would be many millionaires and they can take care of those problems but I’m here now and I’m trying to do what I can.

Doris Buffet

If you’re in the luckiest 1pc of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99pc.

Warren Buffett

A man there was, though some did count him mad. The more he cast away, the more he had.

John Bunyan

When you stop giving and offering something to the rest of the world, it’s time to turn out the lights.

George Burns

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.

Albert Camus

Not what I have but what I do is my kingdom.

Thomas Carlyle

I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.

Andrew Carnegie

Wealth is not to feed our egos but to feed the hungry and to help people help themselves.

Andrew Carnegie

The family that perseveres in good works will surely have an abundance of blessings.

Chinese Proverb

We live in an interdependent world. Every time you cut off somebody else’s opportunities, you shrink your own horizons.

William J. Clinton

When wealth is centralized, the people are dispersed. When wealth is distributed, the people are brought together.

Confucius

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

Calvin Coolidge

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.

Madame Curie

Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life – a kind of destiny.

Princess Diana

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Charles Dickens

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.

Albert Einstein

Blessed influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

George Eliot

One must be poor to know the luxury of giving.

George Eliot

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?

George Eliot

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself… Serve and thou shall be served.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The highest use of capital is not to make more money but to make money to do more for the betterment of life.

Henry Ford

How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.

Anne Frank

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

Benjamin Franklin

Having emerg’d from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born & bred, to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world, and having gone so far thro’ life with a considerable share of felicity, the conducing means Imade use of, which, with the blessing of God, so well succeeded, my posterity may like to know, as they may find some of them suitable to their own situations, and therefore fit to be imitated.

Benjamin Franklin

He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.

Benjamin Franklin

I would rather have it said, “He lived usefully,” than, “He died rich.”

Benjamin Franklin

Helping people doesn’t have to be an unsound financial strategy.

Melinda French Gates

The premise of this foundation is one life on this planet is no more valuable than the next.

Melinda French Gates

We started our foundation because we believe we have a real opportunity to help advance equity around the world, to help make sure that, no matter where a person is born, he or she has the chance to live a healthy, productive life.

Melinda French Gates

Not he who has much is rich but he who gives much.

Erich Fromm

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.

Mohandas Gandhi

Wealth is not new. Neither is charity. But the idea of using private wealth imaginatively, constructively, and systematically to attack the fundamental problems of mankind is new.

John Gardner

Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we’d want to get involved.

Bill Gates

Charity looks at the need and not at the cause.

German Proverb

Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.

Kahlil Gibran

The deed is everything, the glory naught.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Scatter plenty o’er a smiling land.

Thomas Gray

The only gift is a portion of thyself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Generosity is the flower of justice.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

I’ve always said that the better off you are, the more responsibility you have for helping others. Just as I think it’s important to run companies well, with a close eye to the bottom line, I think you have to use your entrepreneurial experience to make corporate philanthropy effective.

Carlos Slim Helu

Charity is a supreme virtue, and the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts.

Conrad Hilton

The practice of charity will bind us…will bind all men in one great brotherhood.

Conrad Hilton

Help thy brother’s boat across and lo! thine own has reached the shore.

Hindu Proverb

Sometimes give your services for nothing.

Hippocrates

By Jove the stranger and the poor are sent, and what to those we give, to Jove is lent.

Homer

It never was our guise to slight the poor, or aught humane despise.

Homer

If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.

Bob Hope

Don’t just put it off and think about it!

Horace

As the purse is emptied the heart is filled.

Victor Hugo

My father used to say, ‘You can spend a lot of time making money. The tough time comes when you have to give it away properly.’ How to give something back, that’s the tough part in life.

Lee Iacocca

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

William James

What the poor need is not charity but capital, not caseworkers but coworkers. And what the rich need is a wise, honorable and just way of divesting themselves of their overabundance.

Clarence Jordan

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

Helen Keller

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

John F. Kennedy

The raising of extraordinarily large sums of money, given voluntarily and freely by millions of our fellow Americans, is a unique American tradition… Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely… call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.

John F. Kennedy

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Robert F. Kennedy

Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation.

Robert F. Kennedy

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Those who bestow their wealth in the way of God are like the grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, a hundred grains in every ear. So God multiplies for those whom he will.

Koran (2: 261)

Oh, believers, do not void your freewill offerings with reproach and injury as one who bestows of his substance to show off to men and believes not in God and the Last Day.

Koran (2: 264)

Whatever good you do, surely God has knowledge of it. Those who expend their wealth night and day, openly or secretly, their reward awaits them with their Lord.

Koran (2: 274)

Being kind to others is a way of being good to yourself.

Rabbi Harold Kushner

The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.

Charles Lamb

Do your givin’ while you’re livin’… then you’ll be knowin’ where it’s goin’.

Ann Landers

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Emma Lazarus

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19: 9-10

The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gifts…Thus a heavy task is laid upon Gift-love. It must work toward its own abdication. We must aim at making ourselves superfluous. The hour when we can say ‘They need me no longer’ should be our reward. But the instinct, simply in its own nature, has no power to fulfill this law.

C.S. Lewis

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad; and that’s my religion.

Abraham Lincoln

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.

Jack London

Not what we give, but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare.

James Russell Lowell

Who gives himself with his alms feeds three, himself, his hungering neighbor and me.

James Russell Lowell

There can be little doubt that a certain amount of corporate philanthropy is simply good business and works for the long-term benefit of the investors.

John Mackey

The Levels of Tzedakah (Charity)
Enabling the recipient to become self-reliant
Giving when neither party knows the other’s identity
Giving when one knows the recipient’s identity, but the recipient doesn’t know the donor’s identity
Giving when one does not know the recipient’s identity, but the recipient knows the identity of the donor
Giving before being asked
Giving after being asked
Giving less that one should, but giving it cheerfully
Giving begrudgingly

Moses Maimonides

To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is Godlike.

Horace Mann

Instead of exhorting you to augment your charity, I will rather utter an exhortation, or at least a supplication, that you may not abuse your charity by misapplying it.

Cotton Mather

As I give, I get.

Mary McLeod Bethune

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good he does in this world to his fellow man.

Mohammed

Pity the sorrows of a poor man, whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door.

Thomas Moss

He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.

Nietzsche

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Apostle Paul, I Corinthians 13:13

Do good with what thou hast, or it will do thee no good.

William Penn

Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.

Anthony Robbins

Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.

John D. Rockefeller

I was trained from the beginning to work, to save. I have always regarded it a as a religious duty to get all I could honorably and to give all I could.

John D. Rockefeller

The best philanthropy is constantly in search of the finalities—a search for a cause, an attempt to cure evils at their source.

John D. Rockefeller

Think of giving not only as a duty but as a privilege.

John D. Rockefeller

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

Eleanor Roosevelt

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Theodore Roosevelt

We are, after all, only trustees of the wealth we possess. Without the community and its resources… there would be little wealth for anyone.

John Ruskin

Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Everyman has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.

Albert Schweitzer

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer

The race of mankind would perish did they cease to aid each other. We cannot exist without mutual help. All, therefore, that need aid have a right to ask it from their fellow men; and noone who has the power of granting can refuse it without guilt.

Sir Walter Scott

Whatever we give to the wretched, we lend to fortune.

Seneca

A benefit consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.

Seneca

Let him that hath done the good office conceal it; let him that received it disclose it.

Seneca

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Dr. Seuss

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.

William Shakespeare

Tis not enough to help the feeble up but to support him after.

William Shakespeare

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community. And as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold of for a short moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.

George Bernard Shaw

I’m not doing my philanthropic work, out of any kind of guilt, or any need to create good public relations. I’m doing it because I can afford to do it, and I believe in it.

George Soros

My foundations support people in the country who care about an open society. It’s their work that I’m supporting. So it’s not me doing it. But I can empower them. I can support them, and I can help them.

George Soros

He who has conferred a benefit on anyone from motives of love or honor will feel pain, if he sees that the benefit is received without gratitude.

Benedict Baruch Spinoza

To laugh often and to love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of oneself; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded.

Bessie A. Stanley

He who gives only what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.

Sir Henry Taylor

An attitude of gratitude creates blessings. Help yourself by helping others. You have the most powerful weapons on earth – love and prayer.

John Templeton

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

Mother Teresa

To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

Mother Teresa

Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind.

Henry David Thoreau

The Americans make associations to give entertainment, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner, they found hospitals, prisons and schools.

Alexis de Tocqueville

It takes a noble man to plant a seed for a tree that will someday give shade to people he may never meet.

David E. Trueblood

As I started getting rich, I started thinking, ‘what the hell am I going to do with all this money?’… You have to learn to give.

Ted Turner

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.

Unknown

I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Unknown

Being myself no stranger to suffering, I have learned to relieve the sufferings of others.

Virgil

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.

Booker T. Washington

…the most useful and influential people in [America] are those who take the deepest interest in institutions that exist for the purpose of making the world better.

Booker T. Washington

There is no cause half so sacred as the cause of the people. There is no idea so uplifting as the idea of the service of humanity.

Woodrow Wilson

I choose to rise up out of that storm and see that in moments of desperation, fear, and helplessness, each of us can be a rainbow of hope, doing what we can to extend ourselves in kindness and grace to one another. And I know for sure that there is no them – there’s only us.

Oprah Winfrey

It’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life.

Oprah Winfrey

Give all thou canst; high Heaven rejects the lore of nicely-calculated less or more.

William Wordsworth

On that best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth

When we plant a tree, we don’t plant it for ourselves but for our children.

The Reverend Mae “Mother” Wyatt

With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.

Mark Zuckerburg

Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity – the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires.

Bill Gates

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Eli Broad

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

True philanthropy requires a disruptive mindset, innovative thinking and a philosophy driven by entrepreneurial insights and creative opportunities.

Naveen Jain

Philanthropy is involved with basic innovations that transform society, not simply maintaining the status quo or filling basic social needs that were formerly the province of the public sector.

David Rockefeller

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Kahlil Gibran

Billions are wasted on ineffective philanthropy. Philanthropy is decades behind business in applying rigorous thinking to the use of money.

Michael Porter

Philanthropy without scale and sustainability is like any other bad business that will simply wither and die on the vine.

Naveen Jain

Philanthropy should be taking much bigger risks that business. If these are easy problems, business and government can come in and solve them.

Bill Gates

The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation.

Mary Ritter Beard

My theme for philanthropy is the same approach I used with technology: to find a need and fill it.

An Wang

The most generous part of your philanthropy could be the time you put in to procure the same results and same outcomes and same returns you demand in business.

Andrew Forrest

There’s a lot of complacency in philanthropy. People figure organizations are trying to do good, and that’s enough, even if the results aren’t there. But that’s wasteful and inefficient. It crowds out better programs.

Dustin Moskovitz

Large-scale philanthropy, based in the private – not the public – sector, is a relatively recent historical development.

Peter Diamandis

Philanthropy is no longer about writing a check for $10,000 to the opera.

Jacqueline Novogratz

Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind. Nay, it is overrated; and it is our selfishness which overrates it.

Henry David Thoreau

We can all make a difference in the lives of others in need, because it is the most simple of gestures that make the most significant of differences.

Miya Yamanouchi

I think it’s important that we give back to society and our fellow man regardless of our professions. We all need help at times. And when we support each other, we’re all a little h5er.

Rhonda Hopkins

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Aesop

I will continue to distribute blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing and food on a regular basis, in the hope that my modest efforts will give some comfort to those people we are able to help.

Mohamed Al-Fayed

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Luke 6:38

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

Maya Angelou

We often excuse our own want of philanthropy by giving the name of fanaticism to the more ardent zeal of others.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All philanthropy… is only a savory fumigation burning at the mouth of a sewer. This incense offering makes the air more endurable to passers-by, but it does not hinder the infection in the sewer from spreading.

Ellen Key

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

Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven.

Henry Ward Beecher

The truth of the matter is: you can create a great legacy, and inspire others, by giving it to philanthropic organizations.

Michael Bloomberg

The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.

Pearl S. Buck

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.

Albert Camus

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

Calvin Coolidge

Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life – a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are.

Princess Diana

Generosity is the flower of justice.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

Desmond Tutu

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.

Andrew Carnegie

One of the great movements in my lifetime among educated people is the need to commit themselves to action. Most people are not satisfied with giving money; we also feel we need to work.

Peter Drucker

The best philanthropy is constantly in search of the finalities—a search for a cause, an attempt to cure evils at their source.

John Rockefeller

The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us….This is where our love for each other must start.

Mother Teresa

A man of humanity is one who…desiring attainment for himself, helps others to attain.

Confucius

Life’s persistent and most urgent question is “What are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Remember, you don’t live in a world all your own.

Albert Schweitzer

A certain amount of corporate philanthropy is simply good business and works for the long-term benefit of the investors.

John Mackey

How about no income tax at all on people over 65? People would continue working, remain healthier, not be an economic and social drain on society. Then the elderly would also have more disposable income to help charitable activities.

John Templeton

When wealth is centralized, the people are dispersed. When wealth is distributed, the people are brought together.

Confucius

What the poor need is not charity but capital, not caseworkers but co-workers. And what the rich need is a wise, honorable, and just way of divesting themselves of their overabundance.

Millard and Linda Fuller

The most useful and influential people in America are those who take the deepest interest in institutions that exist for the purpose of making the world better.

Booker T. Washington

I was fortunate to get a scholarship when I went to Lehigh University and Princeton…. Somebody was kind enough to spend their money to educate people that they would never get to know. That’s what I think philanthropy is about.

Lee Iacocca

It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved.

Mother Teresa

Think of giving not only as a duty but as a privilege.

John Rockefeller

I absolutely believe in the power of tithing. My own experience is that the more I give away, the more that comes back. That is the way life works.

Ken Blanchard

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.

Albert Camus

No one has ever become poor by giving.

Anne Frank

The raising of extraordinarily large sums of money, given voluntarily and freely by millions of our fellow Americans, is a unique American tradition…Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely… call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.

John Kennedy

I was trained from the beginning to work, to save, and to give.

John Rockefeller Jr.

Every charitable act is a stepping stone toward heaven.

Henry Ward Beecher

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Acts 20:35

Charity is a supreme virtue, and the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts.

Conrad Hilton

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

George Eliot

It is in giving that we receive.

Francis of Assisi

That best portion of a good man’s life: His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth

The proper aim of giving is to put the recipients in a state where they no longer need our gifts.

  1. S. Lewis

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most people think that Americans are generous because we are rich. The truth is that we are rich, in significant part, because we are generous.

Claire Gaudiani

No one need wait a single moment to improve the world.

Anne Frank

No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions—he had money as well.

Margaret Thatcher

I wanted to give my children enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much they could do nothing.

Warren Buffett

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

Mother Teresa

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

Donors represent a private version of the legislative process—a deliberative process that selects goals, sets values, and allocates resources…. an alternative vehicle for getting things done.

Paul Ylvisaker

Governments don’t really like organizations which are outside their control. There is much talk today in the voluntary sector of a “compact” with the state. This could turn out to be the sort of compact which the oysters had with the Walrus and the Carpenter: it ends up with one party getting eaten by the other.

Robert Whelan

It’s better to tell your money where to go than to ask where it went.

Farmer’s Gazette

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

If you combine all the spectral rays into a single beam, you get white light; and if you combine all the virtues into a single beam you get charity.

Austin O’Malley

If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.

Confucius

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

St. Paul

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Aesop

It is prodigious the quantity of good that may be done by one man, if he will make a business of it.

Benjamin Franklin

Every man goes down to his death bearing in his hands only that which he has given away.

Persian proverb

The charitable give out the door and God puts it back through the window.

Traditional proverb

Neither the individual nor the race is improved by almsgiving. The best means of benefiting the community is to place within its reach the ladders upon which the aspiring can rise.

Andrew Carnegie

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.

Booker T. Washington

The true friend of the people should see that they be not too poor, for extreme poverty lowers the character of the democracy.

Aristotle

The world is moving so fast these days that the one who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.

Harry Emerson Fosdick

I can testify that it is nearly always easier to make $1,000,000 honestly than to dispose of it wisely.

Julius Rosenwald

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as you ever can.

John Wesley

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Charles Dickens

Some writers have so confounded society with government as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.

Thomas Paine

I believe the power to make money is a gift from God…to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind.

John Rockefeller

The foundation is an instrument forged by citizens who transfer profit from the commercial sector and put it directly to work as risk capital for the general betterment of the society.

Richard Cornuelle

You can give it to the government. You can spend it. You can give it to your kids to their detriment. My three sons understand this. I never want to deprive them of the wonderful feeling of making it on their own. I don’t think you do your kids a favor by leaving them a lot of money or letting them think they’re working with a net. And the fourth thing you can do with your money is create something good with it. I think it’s incumbent on everybody with any amount of funds at all to start thinking like that.

James Kimsey

It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.

Sarah Bernhardt

It is a misconception that corporate or government support has ever provided the majority of arts funding. Each U.S. citizen pays about the cost of one postage stamp in taxes to support national arts. The real stars of arts giving are individual donors, who give more to arts than corporations and government entities combined.

Beth Nathanson

Any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Mahatma Gandhi

The more government takes the place of associations, the more will individuals lose the idea of forming associations and need the government to come to their help. That is a vicious circle of cause and effect.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Different philanthropists have different views about what makes society better off. One of the things that I think is wonderful about the non-accountability of philanthropy is that it allows for multiple versions of what makes society better off. The U.S. is unique in supporting those multiple versions of the good.

Paul Brest

It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it in the first place.

Andrew Carnegie

The best philanthropy is not just about giving money but giving leadership. The best philanthropists bring the gifts that made them successful—the drive, the determination, the refusal to accept that something can’t be done if it needs to be—into their philanthropy.

Tony Blair

Benevolence today has become altogether too huge an undertaking to be conducted otherwise than on business lines.

Julius Rosenwald

Philanthropic leaders genially speak of complementing government, not competing with it—as if monopoly were good and competition destructive—thus unwittingly conspiring against the public interest.

Richard Cornuelle

Never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.

Gamaliel Bailey

Life’s persistent and most urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’

Martin Luther King Jr.

To get the best long-term results, the foundation should not only provide grants to help competent men do their best work, but should also seek to increase the supply of competent men.

–1949 Ford Foundation report

My theme for philanthropy is the same approach I used with technology: to find a need and fill it.

An Wang

Men who leave their money to be distributed by others are pie-faced mutts. I want to see the action during my lifetime.

George Eastman

If you want to feel proud of yourself, you’ve got to do things you can be proud of.

Oseola McCarty

To say or imply that the foundation exists only on the sufferance of government is to reason from the untenable notion that the citizen and all his institutions are creatures of the state, not the other way around.

Richard Cornuelle

The political maturity of a country is measured by what citizens willingly do for themselves and one another.

Frank Prochaska

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

Benjamin Franklin

Let no one go hungry away. If any of the kind of people should be in want of corn, supply their necessities, provided it does not encourage them in idleness.

George Washington

God sends us the poor to try us….And he that refuses them a little out of the great deal that God has given lays up poverty in store for his own posterity.

William Penn

In America, communities existed before governments. There were many groups of people with a common sense of purpose and a feeling of duty to one another before there were political institutions.

Daniel Boorstin

Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.

Martin Luther King Jr.

A large part of altruism…is grounded upon the fact that it is uncomfortable to have unhappy people about one.

  1. L. Mencken

Rich men are neither better nor worse than all other humans. They contribute to greatness or mediocrity, strength of character or weakness in exactly the same proportion as persons in all other walks of life do.

Julius Rosenwald

Where charity keeps pace with gain, industry is blessed.

William Penn

We are the most individualistic country on the face of the earth…and yet this individualistic society is still one of the most communitarian and undoubtedly the most philanthropic on the face of the earth. How can the most individualistic of societies also be the most philanthropic? Because of another great American tradition: that every individual is worthy, and no one is trapped by their circumstance.

Condoleezza Rice

Many people are alienated by faceless bureaucracy and what they see as an erosion of participatory democracy. Consequently, there has been a revival of interest in charitable service.

Frank Prochaska

Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness. The former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Thomas Paine

The man who dies rich dies disgraced.

Andrew Carnegie

The spirit of community will be revived as we succeed in devising ways to re-involve people in solving the perplexing problems they see about them, not just in talking about them, and certainly not in petitioning government to solve them.

Richard Cornuelle

They will question you concerning what they should bestow voluntarily. Say: ‘Whatever good thing you bestow is for parents and kinsmen, orphans, the needy and strangers and whatever good you do God has knowledge of it.’

Koran (2: 215)

As the purse is emptied the heart is filled.

Victor Hugo

Not what we give, but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare.

James Russell Lowell

Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.

John Rockefeller Jr.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Theodore Roosevelt

It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.

  1. R. R. Tolkien

Earlier in this century, philanthropy often flowed from the wills of dead industrialists. In recent decades, it’s as likely to have come from a very alive business leader.

Michael Milken

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

Calvin Coolidge

Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills…Each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation.

Robert Kennedy

Your Giving Pledge has a loophole…permitting pledgees to simply name charities in their wills. Some billionaires hate giving large sums of money away while alive and instead set up family-controlled foundations to do it for them after death. And these foundations become, more often than not, bureaucracy-ridden sluggards.

Robert Wilson replying to Bill Gates’s invitation to sign the Giving Pledge

Let him that hath done the good office conceal it; let him that received it disclose it.

Seneca

As the furnace purifies the silver, so does charity rid wealth of its dross.

William Downey

Leisure is time for doing something useful.

Benjamin Franklin

When the crumbs are swept from our table, we think it generous to let the dogs eat them; as if that were charity which permits others to have what we cannot keep.

Henry Ward Beecher

Charity is the note that resolves the discord.”

Austin O’Malley

A man there was, though some did count him mad, the more he cast away, the more he had.

John Bunyan

Nothing contributes more to make men polite and civilized, than true and genuine charity.

Wellins Calcott

Charity is a universal remedy against discord, and a holy cement for mankind.

William Penn

Community is a consequence. It results when people come together to accomplish things that are important to them and succeed. People who are uninvolved cannot feel this connection.

Richard Cornuelle

I have always believed that most large fortunes are made by men…who tumbled into a lucky opportunity. Hard work and attention to business are necessary, but they rarely result in achieving a large fortune. Do not be fooled into believing that because a man is rich, he is necessarily smart. There is ample proof to the contrary.

Julius Rosenwald

There is a natural law, a Divine law, that obliges you and me to relieve the suffering, the distressed and the destitute.

Conrad Hilton

It is calculated that a certain amount of revenue is lost to the government because a private college is tax exempt. The logic is that all of society’s wealth really belongs to the government and that the government should therefore be able to determine how wealth exempted from taxation should be used. This implication is incipiently totalitarian.

Peter Berger and Richard John Neuhaus

Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.

John Rockefeller

Gain all you can without harm to mind or body, your own or your neighbor’s, by honest industry and by common sense. Save all you can to keep yourself, as well as your children from prodigal desires…. And, finally, as God placed you here not as a proprietor, but a steward, give all you can.

John Wesley

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?

George Eliot

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.

Jack London

Men have committed murder for jealousy’s sake, and anger’s sake, and hatred’s sake, and selfishness’ sake, and spiritual pride’s sake; but no man that ever I heard of ever committed a diabolical murder for sweet charity’s sake.

Herman Melville

When we do any good to others, we do as much, or more, good to ourselves.

Benjamin Whichcote

When I talk to young people who seem destined for great success, I tell them…concentrate on your family and getting rich (which I found very hard work). Don’t forget that those who don’t make money never become philanthropists.

Robert Wilson

The value of a man resides in what he gives.

Albert Einstein

Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distresses of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse. It is not everyone who asks that deserves charity; all, however, are worthy of the inquiry, or the deserving may suffer.

George Washington

In the modern era, government has been seen as society’s problem-solving agency, the place people go to address every conceivable need. This assumption of government omnipotence has profoundly influenced the evolution of philanthropy. The principal function of a philanthropic group becomes interesting government in carrying out its goal, rather than being a problem-solving institution in its own right.

James Payne

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

The highest use of capital is to make money do more for the betterment of life.

Henry Ford

If you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing—by far—is to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children.

Michael Bloomberg

As I give, I get.

Mary McLeod Bethune

Do not give, as many rich men do, like a hen that lays her egg and then cackles.

Henry Ward Beecher

The ultimate achievement is how you feel about yourself. And giving your wealth away to have an impact for good does help with that.

Gerry Lenfest

I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.

Andrew Carnegie

Charity is the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts.

Conrad Hilton

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

Helen Keller

Speeches by businessmen on social responsibility…may gain them kudos in the short run. But it helps to strengthen the already too prevalent view that the pursuit of profits is wicked….There is one and only one social responsibility of business-to…engage in open and free competition without deception or fraud.

Milton Friedman

You take nothing with you that you gained—only what you gave away.

Francis of Assisi

I particularly dislike people saying, “I’m going to leave it in my will.” What they’re really saying is, “If I could live forever, I wouldn’t give any of it away.”

Jon Huntsman Sr.

The best recreation is to do good.

William Penn

We must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of other’s necessities….We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own…always having before our eyes our community as members of the same body.

John Winthrop at the founding of the Massachusetts Colony

Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.

Barbara Bush

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.

Albert Pine

If you publish your voluntary offerings, that is good; but if you conceal them, and give them to the poor, that is better for you, and will acquit you of your evil deeds.

Koran (2: 271)

There’s no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and working with the people who can make a difference. They get the benefit of your participation and you gain a direct understanding of the real problems and potential solutions, which makes you a more informed giver.

Michael Milken

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

William James

For scientific researchers, charitable donations are enormous engines of new opportunities, of starting in directions that wouldn’t have been possible to fund by conventional sources.

Leroy Hood

Help your brother’s boat across, and your own will reach the shore.

Hindu proverb

Too often, a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner.

Warren Buffett

I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth than to give while one is living…. Interventions have greater value and impact today than if they are delayed.

Charles Feeney

There are eight levels of charity…. The highest is when you strengthen a man’s hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others.

Maimonides

If life happens to bless you with talent or treasure, you have a responsibility to use those gifts as well and as wisely as you possibly can.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Historically, Americans did not raise funds by appealing to donors’ guilt, or by urging them to “give back” to society. Instead, they appealed to their fellow citizens’ ideals and aspirations, their religious principles, and their desire to create.

Adam Meyerson

Philanthropists enjoy the freedom to experiment and take risks—risks that business and government entities cannot, or will not, accept. In this way, philanthropy has served as society’s “risk capital.”

Tom Tierney and Joel Fleishman

At the head of any new undertaking where in France you would find the government, or in England some great lord, in the United States you are sure to find an association.

Alexis de Tocqueville

If your aims as a donor are modest, you can accomplish an awful lot. When your aims become elevated beyond a reasonable level, you not only don’t accomplish much, but you can cause a great deal of damage.

Irving Kristol

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

St. Paul

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. If you are generous, you will gain everything.

Confucius

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

Ecclesiastes 11:1

The best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.

Benjamin Franklin

When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others….Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:2

What I did was help myself by learning to help others. You only keep what you have by giving it away.

Sean MacMillen

Show me a person who never made a mistake, and I will show you a person who never did anything.

William Rosenberg

You will not attain true piety until you voluntarily give of that which you love and whatever you give, God knows of it.

Koran (3: 92)

If you would help another man, you must do so in minute particulars.

William Blake

I feel called to help individuals, to love each human being. I never think in terms of crowds in general but in terms of persons. Were I to think about crowds, I would never begin anything.

Mother Teresa

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the creative light of altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgement. Life’s persistent and most urgent question is “What are you doing for others?

Martin Luther King Jr.

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Know the people in your town. Who are the fakers and who are the people who really do the work and are not building empires?

Doris Buffett, Warren Buffett’s sister, was quoted in the Globe and Mail January 2, 2009 inrelation to her supporting a class on philanthropy at McMaster University

Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them. It would be so much better if that money was spent in Africa – and it’s about getting a balance.

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group empire

Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we’d want to get involved.

Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Philanthropy is all about making a positive difference in the world by devoting your resources and your time to causes you believe in. In my case, I like to support causes where “a lot of good comes from a little bit of good,” or, in other words, where the positive social returns vastly exceed the amount of time and money invested.

Jeff Skoll

As I started getting rich, I started thinking, ‘what the hell am I going to do with all this money?’… You have to learn to give.

Ted Turner, founder of CNN who donated over a billion dollars to the UN.

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 power nor an easy matter.

Aristotle

Charity begins at home.

Unknown

Charity begins at home but should not end there.

Sir Francis Bacon

Difficult things we do quickly. The impossible takes a little longer.

David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel

Every dollar makes a difference. And that’s true whether it’s Warren Buffett’s remarkable $31 billion pledge to the Gates Foundation, or my late father’s $25 check to the NAACP.

Michael Bloomberg

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

I would rather have it said, ‘He lived usefully,’ than, ‘He died rich.’

Benjamin Franklin

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

We are, after all, only trustees of the wealth we possess. Without the community and its resources… there would be little wealth for anyone.

John Ruskin

I’m not doing my philanthropic work, out of any kind of guilt, or any need to create good public relations. I’m doing it because I can afford to do it, and I believe in it.

George Soros

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.

Booker T. Washington

Planned giving is a people business. Not a legal business.

Viken Mikaelian

Once asked what action he would recommend if a person were to feel a nervous breakdown coming on: “Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, and find someone in need and do something for him.

Karl A. Menninger

Never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.

Gamaliel Bailey, doctor and abolitionist

We have previously suggested that philanthropy combines genuine pity with the display of power and that the latter element explains why the powerful are more inclined to be generous than to grant social justice.

Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society, 1932

… the act of giving can cause great harm as well as important good.

William Damon, 2006

The greatest harms occur when gifts are bestowed haphazardly, without forethought, without regard for their effects.

James Allen Smith

Modern grant seeking processes can be as drawn out and humiliating as anything faced by a poor person pleading for assistance in antiquity.

James Allen Smith

When you are in the business of giving away money, people have a tendency to tell you what they think you want to hear.

Thomas J. Tierney

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

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