The Advancing Leadership Blog

National Philanthropy Day

Today, November 15, is National Philanthropy Day in Canada and around the globe.

Observed in more than 100 official celebrations worldwide, NPD is a day to recognize the work of charities and remember the extraordinary achievements philanthropists, volunteers and those involved in all areas of social engagement.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word philanthropy is derived from the Greek word “philo” which means “loving” and “anthropos” meaning “mankind.” Simply put, to be a philanthropist is to love mankind. Therefore, philanthropy manifests in the form of voluntary action and associations that are built among individuals, and of course, financial giving.

Despite the recent market volatility and challenging economy, the BMO Philanthropy Report released today, announced that Canadians are still a generous bunch, with almost 70 per cent of the population making a charitable donation in the past 12 months. The majority (71 per cent) of Canadians even plan on donating the same amount or more compared to last year.

But what about philanthropy on a corporate level? Does your company support local or international efforts? If so, are you well-versed in the ins and outs of the philanthropic giving?

It’s safe to say that when it comes to business, reputation has always been essential to success. But in today’s evolving, socially-charged world, sustaining public trust through a good corporate reputation can be difficult. As outside expectations rise, corporate philanthropy has an essential role to play in meeting these expectations, and it is changing in response to the new environment.

A blog posted on TEC Exchange last April titled the Necessity of CEOs to care…and give back outlines three key pillars of positive giving. The author, TEC member Michael Gerbis, president and CEO of The Delphi Group, defines these key tenets as the “Triple C Leadership.”


Philanthropy, Michael says, isn’t just about the money. It’s also about contributing your time, providing good ideas, educating others, donating items of use, sharing skills and experiences, as well as supporting personal growth and confidence in those initiating positive change in our communities.


As a business leader, Michael says that others look to you to take on leadership roles outside of your company and initiate, lead and/or support local causes. Speaking out and up about critical issues and engaging actively in positively changing the neighbourhood, town, city, province, country or world we live in can be done, one step at a time.


The hardest of the three Cs, this could take you out of your comfort zone of results-oriented fast-paced, money-making action, to one of compassion, empathy and ongoing time and encouragement to help those closest to us – family, friends, neighbours, etc. reach their goals and influence positive change.

The common factor in each of the Triple Cs, Michael says, is the ability for business leaders to extend leadership beyond financial boundaries in business and focus on maintaining and strengthening the social and environmental fibers that stitch us together as individuals, ultimately strengthening our communities. A little food for thought while you’re thinking about your corporate giving plan today. Happy National Philanthropy Day!

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