The dictionary defines philanthropy as the disposition or effort to promote the happiness or social elevation of mankind, by acts or charity, making donations, and so on; love or benevolence toward mankind in general. Ireland and Johnson define corporate philanthropy as a transfer of a charitable nature of corporate resources to recipients at below marked prices.1
Various forms of philanthropy and charity have existed since the early days of mankind. It started taking its most visible forms as we know it today back in the 1910s and 1920s with the success of the YMCA, Community Chest, welfare federations, hospitals, colleges, and universities; these groups all provide the foundation and format for today's charitable giving.
As in most other subject areas, there are also conflicting viewpoints about charitable giving by business concerns. The book's two opening quotations are representative of the two sides of the issue. Chapter 2 also points out several different conflicting viewpoints on philanthropy.
John D. Rockefeller III, a well-known philanthropist, presents another argument in favor of philanthropy. He feels that philanthropy is necessary in order to support the nonprofit sector of the market; this includes such groups and organizations as churches, museums, libraries, hospitals, private colleges and universities, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and other private health and welfare groups; it offers these institutions the freedom and independence they need to operate properly and efficiently.2