The social differences, including deep differences between the wealthy and the poor in a society result in deficiencies for the proper functioning of a state. In order to enable some sort of equality between these categories of people, regardless of how small it might be, there is a need for giving, such as charity and philanthropy.
Often the difference between charity and philanthropy is unknown, although both imply good will giving. Whilst charity is short-term, more emotional, immediate response, mainly focused on rescue and relief, philanthropy is problem solving, is long-term, more strategic and focused on improving the lives of a bigger number of people.
The Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ) is the only organization in Kosovo involved in promotion of philanthropy, and is a pillar for all Kosovo philanthropists, including individuals and businesses, as well as potential philanthropists.
Being a philanthropist is what makes our life meaningful. Philanthropy proves our ability to do something good, to give something that makes us happy and worthy. It is this giving for a good will that makes us happier than anything else.
One may think that a philanthropists is a rich man who donates big amounts of money to individuals, groups or organizations that deal with social issues.
But when we think of our famous Kosovo philanthropists, with whom we are proud, such as Anton Çetta, Hasan Prishtina, and Nazim Gafurri, we make the question “Were they in fact financially very rich?”. It is quite that one needs to be rich in order to be a philanthropists, but not rich in money, but in goodwill, this explains why philanthropists come from different economic layers.
Philanthropists may donate money, land, products, food, goods, or services.
Money – can be donated directly to those in need, or to any organization that deals with social issues, which then can allocate it where needed.
Many philanthropists donate a certain share of their incomes, which sometimes reaches up to one tenth of their general incomes. Some choose to contribute in other forms instead of money, such as scholarships. Some philanthropists choose to have their money donated after they pass away, by setting out in their wills the philanthropic organizations or the people they wish to give their money to.
Products – may be needed more than money. Not every person needs everything and not every philanthropic action involves donation in money. Both brand new and second hand clothing have been usually accepted by charity organizations. Canned food may be donated to public kitchens, shelters and other centers that deal with social issues; this is often the case with big businesses that donate big quantities of packed food.
Services – Sometimes people need help. Anyone who is willing to give his/her time and skills for helping someone in need is thereby making a philanthropic donation. Some people donate their time by working for marginalized groups. Others visit people in nursing homes for them to have friends. Those with specialized skills may donate their capacity in different ways, such as the legal representatives, doctors, and psychologists. In addition, even the simplest acts, such as mowing of a lawn or making a repair in someone else’s house make two good examples of charitable actions that include services.
Own self – One of the best goodwill acts a person can do is to give a part of himself/herself to another, although such a philanthropic act is often disregarded. For instance, blood donations are very necessary for saving lives. Donations from the human body itself are among the most altruistic and philanthropic acts, with a direct effect on the lives of others.
The best description would be that philanthropy is an altruistic gesture deprived of any though of compensation. It can be reasonably argued that philanthropy is the art of sharing the good destiny of the rich and it is an act of human kindness.
The Forum for Civic Initiatives believes that philanthropy has both a direct and indirect effect on improving social life, in particular of marginalized groups of population. It is not sufficient to expect support only from government institutions; we as individuals can help and improve life in our your country, through our philanthropic acts. We can achieve high values with very little.
Vjollca Islami Hajrullahu
(The author works in the Philanthropy Program of the Forum for Civic Initiatives)