Giving: an Ancient Tradition



Philanthropy is defined as giving money in order to "promote the common good. It is a time-tested strategy for inspiring innovation and education; a soul-satisfying way of making the world better.


Throughout history every culture has seen the need for the practice of philanthropy, giving for the sake of giving. Following are some interesting examples…



"Charity is pleasing and praiseworthy in the sight of God and is regarded as a prince among goodly deeds."

Learn more about the Baha'i approach to giving




The essence of true charity is to give something without expecting anything in return for the gift.

Learn more about the Buddhist approach to giving




Charity in Christianity is not just almsgiving, and should not be seen only as an obligation or duty. Charity is love.

Learn more about the Christian approach to giving




In the Confucian tradition, shi (giving) is to act for the sake of others for whom the benevolent heart has compassion.

Learn more about the Confucian approach to giving




For Hindus, dana (giving) is an important part of one’s dharma (religious duty).

Learn more about the Hindu approach to giving




Reading the Qur’an – Islam’s holy book, the Word of Allah – one cannot help being struck by the number of times charity is mentioned...

Learn more about the Islamic approach to giving




A fundamental part of the observance of the vow of Ahimsa is that householders should make it a point to give regularly to the charities from their income to some extent.

Learn more about the Jain approach to giving




Tzedakah (charity) is a fundamental part of the Jewish way of life. The spiritual benefit of giving to the poor is so great that a beggar actually does the giver a favor by giving a person the opportunity to perform tzedakah.

Learn more about the Jewish approach to giving



Native American (First Peoples)

In Native cultures, philanthropy means the honor of giving It is a way of life rather than an obligation or a responsibility.

Learn more about the Native American approach to giving




Charity is a very important part of Sikh teachings because equality and compassion are essential for a spiritual life.

Learn more about the Sikh approach to giving




The Tao of heaven is to take from those who have too much and give to those who do not have enough. The more we give to others, the greater our abundance.

Learn more about the Taoist approach to giving


Eight Rungs of

the Giving Ladder


Maimonides, a 12th century Jewish scholar, invented the following ladder of giving. Every rung has an aspect of virtue. How do you choose to give?


  1. The lowest: Giving begrudgingly and making the recipient feel disgraced or embarrassed.

  2. Giving cheerfully but giving too little.

  3. Giving cheerfully and adequately but only after being asked.

  4. Giving before being asked.

  5. Giving when you do not know who is the individual benefiting, but the recipient knows your identity.

  6. Giving when you know who is the individual benefiting, but the recipient does not know your identity.

  7. Giving when neither the donor nor the recipient is aware of the other's identity.

  8. The Highest: Giving money, a loan, your time or whatever else it takes to enable an individual to be self-reliant.


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at the intersection of science and the art of laughter.
our partners
at the intersection of science and the art of laughter.
our partners