(image from pixabay)
"To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man's power nor an easy matter." - Aristotle
To understand the truest nature of philanthropy is to understand the morality behind the purpose of giving money (or the giving of anything really). As Aristotle so eloquently put in the quote above, anyone can give money away, but what matters with this is where and to whom is the money going. It is the moral purpose behind the giving that counts beyond the actual giving of money.
Paul Schervish writes about us all having a "Moral Biography" - "Moral biography refers to the way all individuals conscientiously combine two elements in daily life: personal capacity and moral compass." In other words, we have to take our character and our capacity for giving (in a physical sense) to come to a moral decision about how, when, where we give what we can give. It is about taking the wealth that we acquire (to whatever level that wealth stands) and using it for good; by moving beyond just taking care of the basics, giving provides a mutual wellbeing, to the giver and the receiver.
I believe that most people have a moral biography when it comes to wealth and that they are more generous than they realise. You just have to look at the responses to the multitude of tragedies that have happened, not just in the UK, but around the world. When people recognise that others are in hardship, most people will dig as deep as they can to help, assist, and support. Of course, this doesn't mean that we can support all causes and people - a moral biography is made up of your character and your means, meaning you can only support as far as, you are still able to support yourself. This means that you have to undertake a practice of giving (or philanthropy) that is based on where you heart is directed, resting assured that other causes are supported by those whose heart lead them in that direction.
This philanthropy month I have followed my character, my moral virtues, and my heart, bound within the means in which I live, and I have given to a friend, a tragedy, and a charity. Where does your moral biography direct you?