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A: Philosopher Hobbes defined philanthropy as “desire of good to another, benevolence, good will, charity, good nature.” Yet despite these words, Hobbes had difficulty thinking anyone who was a philanthropist did so except to “enhance the esteem or ‘honor’ in which he was held in the community or to promote his own security and power.”

Q: Perhaps you believe the words of Thomas Browne? 
A: Browne, an English physician who is credited with the expression “charity begins at home,” believed that charity required both cool-headedness and humility.

Q: Do your deeds follow in the footsteps of Andrew Carnegie? 
A: Carnegie expressed in his 1889 essay Wealth, which later became known as The Gospel of Wealth, “Thus is the problem of rich and poor to be solved. The laws of accumulation will be left free; the laws of distribution free. Individualism will continue, but the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; entrusted for a season with a great part of the increased wealth of the community, but administering it for the community far better than it could or would have done for itself.”

Just giving money to the poor or needy was not acceptable without also teaching them moral lessons. Carnegie believed philanthropy’s purpose was to “stimulate the best and most inspiring of the poor…for efforts to further their own improvement.”

Take time this week to write down two authors or poets that inspire your giving. Does your giving philosophy align with your values? 

Do you have a question about women and philanthropy, wealth management or planned giving? E-mail Margaret at Your question might be featured in an upcoming blog and e-newsletter.