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    Are You a ‘Philanthropist’?

    What comes to mind when you hear the word “philanthropist”? An old rich guy handing giant cheques to grateful homeless shelters? Or attending $300 a plate fundraising gala in black tie and tails? Maybe the chairman of a foundation, sitting at the head of the table in a mahogany-paneled room, deciding which needy organization gets millions of dollars?

    Sure, ok. Those people are philanthropists. But guess what? They aren’t the only ones. I’m not sure why the word “philanthropy” is often associated with only the richest givers. Philanthropy happens whenever someone chooses to do something to make the world a better place.

    Merriam-Webster defines philanthopy as:

    goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare”
     
    Sound familiar? Sound like anything you’ve done lately?
     
    If you volunteer – you’re a philanthropist. If you have a job that makes the world a better place – you’re a philanthropist. If you work hard at raising your kids to be healthy, good people – you’re a philanthropist. And so on.
     
    I think philanthropists should be celebrated in all their shapes and sizes. I think we should give ourselves credit for the good we do whether it fits the traditional mental picture or not.
     
    So I’m going to ask you again, friends – are you a philanthropist?