It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality. ~ Paul of Tarsus

Philanthropy is the conduct of private initiatives for the public good. The term literally means "the love of humanity" — love in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, or enhancing; humanity in the sense of "what it is to be human," or "human potential".


  • O proud philanthropist, your hope is vain
    To get by giving what you lost by gain.
    • Ambrose Bierce, "Epigrams" in The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Vol. 8 (1911), p. 349.
  • Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.
  • The English bourgeoisie is charitable out of self-interest; it gives nothing outright, but regards its gifts as a business matter, makes a bargain with the poor, saying: "If I spend this much upon benevolent institutions, I thereby purchase the right not to be troubled any further, and you are bound thereby to stay in your dusky holes and not to irritate my tender nerves by exposing your misery. You shall despair as before, but you shall despair unseen, this I require, this I purchase with my subscription of twenty pounds for the infirmary!"
  • His house was known to all the vagrant train,
    He chid their wanderings but reliev'd their pain;
    The long remembered beggar was his guest,
    Whose beard descending swept his aged breast.
  • Steal the hog, and give the feet for alms.
  • It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality .
  • For this relief, much thanks: 'tis bitter cold,
    And I am sick at heart.
  • Speak with me, pity me, open the door:
    A beggar begs that never begg'd before.
  • You find people ready enough to do the Samaritan, without the oil and twopence.
    • Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir (1855), Volume I, p. 261.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 595-96.
  • Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
    • Acts, IX. 36.
  • Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence, of this virtue.
  • He scorn'd his own, who felt another's woe.
  • Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.
    • Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XLIX.
  • A kind and gentle heart he had,
    To comfort friends and foes;
    The naked every day he clad
    When he put on his clothes.
  • Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
    Heaven did a recompense as largely send;
    He gave to misery (all he had) a tear,
    He gain'd from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.
  • Scatter plenty o'er a smiling land.
  • By Jove the stranger and the poor are sent,
    And what to those we give, to Jove is lent.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book VI, line 247. Pope's translation.
  • It never was our guise
    To slight the poor, or aught humane despise.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XIV, line 65. Pope's translation.
  • In every sorrowing soul I pour'd delight,
    And poverty stood smiling in my sight.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XVII, line 505. Pope's translation.
  • Alas! for the rarity
    Of Christian charity
    Under the sun.
    Oh! it was pitiful!
    Near a whole city full,
    Home had she none.
  • He is one of those wise philanthropists who, in a time of famine, would vote for nothing but a supply of toothpicks.
  • I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
    • Job, XXIX. 15.
  • In Misery's darkest caverns known,
    His useful care was ever nigh,
    Where hopeless Anguish pour'd his groan,
    And lonely want retir'd to die.
    • Samuel Johnson, On the Death of Mr. Robert Levet, Stanza 5. In Boswell's Life of Johnson (1782). ("Useful care" reads "ready help" in first ed.).
  • Shut not thy purse-strings always against painted distress.
    • Charles Lamb, Complaint of the Decay of Beggars in the Metropolis.
  • Help thi kynne, Crist bit (biddeth), for ther bygynneth charitie.
  • Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
    Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.
  • Nec sibi sed toti genitum se credere mundo.
    • He believed that he was born, not for himself, but for the whole world.
    • Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, II. 383.
  • To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is Godlike.
  • Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them.
    • Matthew, VI. 1.
  • When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.
    • Matthew, VI. 3.
  • Pity the sorrows of a poor old man,
    Whose trembling limbs have brought him to your door.
  • The organized charity, scrimped and iced,
    In the name of a cautious, statistical Christ.
  • Misero datur quodcunque, fortunæ datur.
  • 'Tis a little thing
    To give a cup of water; yet its draught
    Of cool refreshment, drain'd by fever'd lips,
    May give a shock of pleasure to the frame
    More exquisite than when nectarean juice
    Renews the life of joy in happiest hours.
  • Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco.
    • Being myself no stranger to suffering, I have learned to relieve the sufferings of others.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), I. 630.
  • The poor must be wisely visited and liberally cared for, so that mendicity shall not be tempted into mendacity, nor want exasperated into crime.

See also

AltruismAsceticismBeneficenceBenevolenceBraveryCarefulnessCharityCheerfulnessCleanlinessCommon senseCompassionConstancyCourageDignityDiligenceDiscretionEarnestnessFaithFidelityForethoughtForgivenessFriendshipFrugalityGentlenessGoodnessGraceGratitudeHolinessHonestyHonorHopeHospitalityHumanityHumilityIntegrityIntelligenceJusticeKindnessLoveLoyaltyMercyModerationModestyOptimismPatiencePhilanthropyPietyPrudencePunctualityPovertyPuritySelf-controlSimplicitySinceritySobrietySympathyTemperanceTolerance

AggressionAngerApathyArroganceBigotryContemptCowardiceCrueltyDishonestyDrunkennessEgotismEnvyEvil speakingGluttonyGreedHatredHypocrisyIdlenessIgnoranceImpatienceImpenitenceIngratitudeInhumanityIntemperanceJealousyLazinessLustMaliceNeglectObstinacyPhilistinismPrejudicePretensionPrideRecklessnessSelf-righteousnessSelfishnessSuperficialityTryphéUnkindnessUsuryVanityWorldliness

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