Philanthropy as ‘love’

Monday 24 December 2018

Given that the earliest image of philanthropy is associated with Prometheus’ love of humanity, what better image to finish with on the 24th of December than philanthropy as love. The quote we are using comes from philanthropy strategy advisor Bruce DeBoskey. Revisiting an analogy he had used in 2010, he writes:

‘Back in 2010, I wrote in my first column : “Philanthropy is like love. The more you make it a cornerstone of your life, the more you’ll find the joy, meaning and satisfaction in living.” These words rang true then and – based on six years of experience – ring even more true today.’

Alongside, he gives six pieces of advice:

  1. Giving can benefit the donor as well as the beneficiary.
  2. “Top down” philanthropy is limited in value and not sustainable.
  3. The “peanut butter” approach to giving has less impact.
  4. Donating after death is less satisfying than donating during life.
  5. Don’t ignore the other 95 percent. Philanthropically committed capital – in foundations and donor-advised funds — is all available to help achieve charitable mission.
  6. Effective philanthropy is more than writing a check.

Deboskey, B (2016), On Philanthropy: Six years, six important lessons about philanthropy, 10th July,


With that, Season’s Greetings from all of us at the Centre for the Study of Philanthropy & Public Good and the best wishes for 2019!


Drawing on some of the findings from our ‘Images of Philanthropy’ Initiative, each entry in this accompanying blog series introduces one image that has been put forward in an academic or non-academic context to depict or characterise an aspect of philanthropy in its different forms and expressions.

For further information about the ‘Images of Philanthropy’ Initiative, please contact Dr Tobias Jung.

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