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Strategic Fund Development: Building Profitable Relationships That Last, Third Edition by Simone P. Joyaux

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Defining Philanthropy and Fund Development

Years ago when speaking in Mexico City, I heard philanthropist Don Manuel Arango Arias talk about philanthropy as “freeing the talent of the citizenry.” That goes well with my favorite definition of philanthropy, coined by Robert L. Payton, that philanthropy is “voluntary action for the common good.”1 Consider, too, what other leading sector experts say: John Gardner talks about “private initiatives for the public good,” Lester Salamon refers to “the private giving of time or valuables … for public purposes” and Robert Bremner notes that “the aim of philanthropy … is improvement in the quality of human life.”2

Philanthropy is not defined by wealth. Everyone can give. Many choose to give. And it is hoped that organizations value all donors and respect all gifts. As Alfre Woodard says in the preface to Robin Hood Was Right, one of the best books you’ll ever read: “Giving isn’t a posture reserved for the rich or powerful. It is the responsibility and privilege of every man, woman, and child to participate in the task of building more just and humane societies.”3 The concept of justice—too often excluded from philanthropy—broadens our horizons.4 The common good demands our attention. And Woodard continues, “Charity is good, but supporting and creating social change are about power. Power can infuse lives with purpose and dignity. That opens up the possibility of joy. The life of the giver, as well as that of the receiver, is transformed.” ...

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