Cicero

“With the disappearance of Latin from the schoolroom, the greatest statesman of ancient Rome, Marcus Tullius Cicero, is now a dimly remembered figure. He does not deserve this fate and it is time to restore him to his proper place in the pantheon of our common past.  

One powerful motive for doing so is that, nearly two thousand years after his time, he became an unknowing architect of constitutions that still govern our lives. For the founding fathers of the United States and their political counterparts in Great Britain, the writings of Tully (as his name was Anglicized) were the foundation of their education. John Adams’s first book and proudest possession was his Cicero.” 

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

The Ranks of Philanthropy

“Maimonides, a Sephardic Jew who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages, contended that there are gradations in the way that we express care for each other. He sought to capture them on a scale that describes eight forms of giving. Ranked lowest is a gift that is given grudgingly. As one translation puts it, the noblest (and highest ranked) of all forms of generosity occurs when one assists a poor fellow human being by providing that person with a gift, a loan, or an opportunity for a business partnership or by helping that person to find employment.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

Philanthropy on an Individual Level

“Because its literal translation from Greek is “the love of humankind,” philanthropy can be and often is the word used to describe a multiplicity of benevolent behaviors: an act of kindness to a stranger, volunteer service at a not-for-profit organization, advocacy for a humanitarian cause, a dollar placed into a Salvation Army kettle, or multimillion dollar gifts and grants to universities and hospitals. Generous benefactors may choose to concentrate their attention upon the relief of suffering, the improvement of living standards, the provision of amenities for the “good life,” the promotion of social reform, or the support of civic engagement.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

The Social Gospel

“Foundations and other benevolent agencies developed a strong affinity to what came to be called the Social Gospel. This new train of thought which began to emerge toward the end of the 19th century was essentially a liberal Protestant response to the miserable working and living conditions of laborers in 19th century industrial America. It stressed the application of Jesus’ teachings to public life, especially the needs of the poor and disenfranchised, with special attention to the issues of justice and equity.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

Philanthropy Efforts, Post-Hurricane Katrina

“George Penick, president of the Foundation for the Mid South in Jackson, Mississippi, convened a gathering of foundation leaders in Memphis to begin coordinating a response to the cataclysm. Byron Harrell, president of Baptist Community Ministries in New Orleans, and Ted Alexander, president of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation in Picayune, Mississippi, were among the first philanthropic leaders to begin sharing detailed accounts of the devastation and calling for financial and other support from the foundation field. Both regional and national grant-makers responded generously to these and other solicitations. Penick and Lehfeldt co-hosted a national conference call to share information, and during the following months Lehfeldt paid several visits to the hurricane-damaged region to meet with SECF members and donor associations.35 Reflecting on the events of that period, he took note of the importance of the region having a philanthropic infrastructure to facilitate communication and collaboration.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.