Philanthropy Builds Communities

Since the beginning of time, in every society and in all cultures, human beings have cared for each other. People, as individuals or gathered together in groups, voluntarily reach out to help others. This is philanthropy, described as voluntary action for the common good.

John W. Gardner1 writes eloquently about the human need for community and the individual role in building community. One way the individual gains a sense of self is through continuous relationships with others. Community can confer a sense of belonging, and your organization can tap into this fundamental need. Belonging includes a recognition of mutual responsibility for the community and its members. The individual supports the community through allegiance, commitment, and action. The healthy community (Exhibit 2.2) nurtures its members and provides a secure environment for growing. This community establishes expectations and standards wherein great things can happen.

Exhibit 2.2 Gardner’s 10 Attributes That Define Community

1. Wholeness Incorporating Diversity: sharing a common purpose while welcoming different ideas and interests.

2. A Reasonable Base of Shared Values: sharing some core values and actively defending this common ground (possibly the most important attribute of community).

3. Caring, Trust, and Teamwork: creating a humane and respectful climate that accepts all individuals so together we can accomplish group purpose.

4. Effective Internal Communication: communicating ...

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