People often conflate the ideas of charity and philanthropy together, but while they are both related, they are two different ways of giving. One is emotionally driven and about immediate aid and relief, while the other is about long-term solutions to deep-rooted problems. Both are important and can go hand in hand, but they are not interchangeable terms. Let’s break down the difference between charity and philanthropy even further.


Charity is a short-term solution. It is a natural, emotional reaction to seeing somebody in need and volunteering one’s time or money to help relieve them of their suffering. It comes from the French root word of “charite,” meaning “Christian love for one’s fellow.” Of course, now the meaning has evolved to include any act of giving, not limited to just Christianity. Examples of charity could be volunteering at an animal shelter or providing money to Toys for Tots.

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