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Test Your Knowledge: What Is Philanthropy?

Flogert Dollani
Flickr CC

Wednesday is Give Miami Day. It was established last year by the Miami Foundation to encourage donations to local non-profits. Their idea is to establish a culture of giving in Miami. But what counts as charitable giving?

As you consider whether or how you will participate in Give Miami Day, try your hand at this quiz to see if you can pick out what's philanthropy and what isn't.

A. Philanthropy
B. Charity
C. Neither
D. Both philanthropy and charity

1. Your friend is moving out of her apartment. She asks you to carry a few boxes to her car, and you do. What is this an example of?

2. Your local food bank is struggling keeping up with the demand since cuts to federal food stamps went into effect. You decide to donate all those extra canned foods that have been sitting in your cupboard for too long. What is this an example of?

3. You win the lottery and establish a college scholarship for at-risk children. What is this an example of?

4. Your church is donating all of its weekly collection plate to the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, which runs programs for getting people off of the street. Your donation is a form of what?

5. You are driving to work and there is a man panhandling on the side of the road. You give him a dollar as he walks by your car. What is this an example of?

6. Your parents loved art and wanted Miami to have more presence on the global arts scene. They passed away last year. You decide to take the money from their estate and open up an art museum. What is this an example of?

7. You think the dropout rate for high school students in a particular neighborhood is too high. You decide to volunteer as a mentor and tutor for a student. What is this an example of?

8. You are at a Miami Heat game and you decide to buy your uncle, who lives out of town, a jersey. What is this an example of?

Think you got all the answers? Think again -- it's a little complicated.

The word "philanthropy" comes from the root words philos, "loving" and anthropos, "mankind." It means "to love mankind." Although this definition would include all sorts of kind acts by friends, parents, research and charity, there are, in fact, differences.

The primary difference between philanthropy and charity is philanthropy's focus on targeting the root cause of a problem, while charity attempts to alleviate the immediate symptoms of problems. These definitions are clear enough in words, but they're still unclear to identify from actions.

So, here's the answer key we came up with, but feel free to share your interpretations in the comments:

  1. C
  2. B
  3. A
  4. A
  5. B
  6. A
  7. D
  8. C