The Meaning of Philanthropy

“Throughout my more than 25 years of fundraising experience, I have found it to be a bit disheartening when people think the word ‘philanthropist’ primarily describes donors who possess great wealth and are able to make very large gifts,” says Linda Mack, Vice President of Development and Donor Services at the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.


As Mack notes, in reality, all donors are philanthropists, by definition. The term philanthropy is derived from the Greek words philos, meaning “love,” and anthropos, meaning “humankind,” so it literally means “love of humankind.” Philanthropists are therefore any and all people who desire to help others and make a difference.


“The act of being generous, by giving a small or large gifts, or donating time through volunteerism, is equally the same emotion in each of the people who make a gift or volunteer, “ says Mack. “Philanthropy is that moment when people step outside themselves, see a need in their community, and engage in the act of caring for others. It is a humbling moment to witness, and it gives one hope for the future of humanity. I can’t think of a word that describes this moment better than philanthropy.”


The Foundation supports philanthropy in many forms, from enabling donors to create funds for causes they are passionate about, to providing a means for others to support those funds with gifts of any amount, to making grants directly to local non-profits. We are proud to empower philanthropists at all levels to put their love for humankind—and the world around them—into action to make real, lasting impacts in their communities.


About the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts


The Foundation supports the community by giving grants and distributions in the areas of health and human services, education, environment, animal welfare and arts and culture.  We are a non-profit organization, dedicated to helping donors establish permanent endowment funds – benefiting the community forever and creating a lasting legacy for fund holders.

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Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts

Helping donors do good work… FOREVER


649 John Fitch Hwy
Fitchburg, MA 01420


Phone: 978-345-8383
Fax: 978-345-1459
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