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The Oxford dictionary defines philanthropy as “love for humanity in general and benevolence especially” or “a gift made by someone who has nothing left to give.” The word comes from the ancient Greek word “philanthrōpos,” which means friend or lover of humankind. A philanthrōpist is someone who gives away their resources for exemplary purposes to help humanity.

Why You Should Start Reading Some of the Best Philanthropy Books Today

The world is filled with many people who are raising awareness for a cause they believe in and trying to offer or receive funding for it. However, in order to understand the world of charity and non-profits, someone needs to do plenty of research on the topic.

Self-education about philanthropy is essential because many myths exist about philanthropy.

For instance, since many men are famous for philanthropy, few people pause to consider how women are better suited for the challenges of philanthropy because they are biologically and culturally oriented to be more nurturing than men, who are more driven to focus on survival and in an uncertain world.

Bill Gates, for example, is one of the most successful philanthropists in history. He co-founded Microsoft with his friend Paul Allen and then went on to donate billions to charity through his foundation. Gates has also played a considerable role in making sure children are educated worldwide with his foundation’s commitment to global education. However, while Gates is well known, few people know about the many remarkable women philanthropists who are changing the world.

With that in mind, here are some of the five of the most famous books to read to get a broad perspective on philanthropy.

The Top 5 Most Influential Philanthropy Books Every Person Should Read

  1. The Future of Fundraising: How Philanthropy’s Future by Paul D’Alessandro gives a comprehensive description of how donors are navigating the difficulties of social challenges.
  2. Philanthropy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Mark Dodgson and David Gann introduces the reader to philanthropy.
  3. Diversity and Philanthropy at African American Museums by Patricia A. Banks covers how racial politics in the 21st century affect black museums.
  4. Family Philanthropy Navigator by Peter Vogel, Etienne Eichenberger, and Malgorzata Kurak serves as a how-to book for families who want to initiate philanthropic projects.
  5. Philanthropy From Aristotle to Zuckerberg by Paul Vallely explores the history of philanthropy to explain the roots of contemporary philanthropy

In today’s society, it’s easy for people to forget the importance of philanthropy and how it has benefited society. Successful philanthropists have helped to build empires, improve society, and make a positive impact on the world.