Philanthropy Is Not Just For Old Rich People

Today’s youth are the adults of the future. Instilling philanthropic values in children, teens and young adults is vital to solve community and global issues.

The Merriam-Webster logo.

Philanthropy is defined by Merriam Webster as the active effort to promote human welfare. Youth have an abundance of energy which, when harnessed, makes even the most difficult tasks seem effortless.

Why is philanthropy important?

Children who volunteer are twice as likely to donate as adults. Youth philanthropists grow up to be adult philanthropists.

Parents strive to teach compassion to their children. The logical next step is teaching philanthropy. Beyond compassionate feelings lies a world in need of action.

Children say the darnedest things…

Television recognizes the power of children’s words and actions with showcases of talent and comic honesty. From the mouths of babes adults everyday look at situations with new eyes. Encouraging philanthropy in youth moves from the entertaining perspective and humor to action.


Change occurs when action is taken to make circumstances different. Helping youth identify what needs to change aids in their discovery of how to change it. Often, they can bring a solution where one eludes adults solving the same problem.

What can youth do?

Every penny counts.

Donate: Worldwide, children contribute to causes with allowances, birthday money and after-school job earnings.

Volunteer: Many philanthropic endeavors require labor which is not affordable. Volunteering time for soup kitchens, building projects and deliveries keeps the costs of providing services and goods to needy people at a minimum. Those who cannot afford to donate money can donate their time and talent.

Goodwill: Historic societies, like scouting, promote acts of goodwill. Membership is not a requirement for youth philanthropy.

Kindness: Single acts of kindness are philanthropic. Teens who visit nursing homes to read or do crafts with elderly residents are creating a better way of life for both themselves and the people they visit.

Green Living

Conserve: Children who actively conserve resources are impacting the quality of life for people they will never meet. Living a waste-less lifestyle preserves resources for other people, both now and in the future.

Prevent Crime: Youth who play sports or entertain to raise money for crime prevention have a double impact. They are not participating in crime and are actively raising awareness which prevents crime. Crime prevention is philanthropic.

Play Sports: Sports develop important life skills, like teamwork and accountability. After school sports programs have been cut from school budgets in record numbers. Community sports programs which feature community service in lieu of registration payments advance youth philanthropy.

Music is a universal language.

Perform: Music education can lead an at-risk youth toward a more enriched and fulfilling life. Music enhances the lives of all who hear it. Talented youth play instruments and sing to raise awareness for crises from hunger to pollution prevention. Performing concerts for the less advantaged of any age is philanthropic.

Citizenship: Youth involved in governmental processes are more prepared to be educated voters and instrumental political leaders. They bring about change in the political arena which benefits society by rallying their peers.

Educate: Education is necessary for all of society to continue to progress. Any teen can read to children in a public library. Youth who actively teach others, both younger children and adults, strengthen their communities to make better decisions and enrich others’ lives.

Why is youth philanthropy important for our future?

Youth can change the world they live in and the world for the people with which they share it. They have the power to influence their generation to make every community better. They hold the keys to a better way of life for their elders, their peers and future generations.

Youth philanthropy is our future.

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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  1. The beginning must be instilling the true meaning of love into our youth starting with helping them discover their true self.


    • The journey of self-discovery and creating a valid identity separate from peer opinion is essential for adequate self-esteem to foster compassion and empathy.


      • Empathy is the key word here Red.


        • The only justice I see in the pseudo-parents who raise the memes without empathy is knowing these sociopaths will one day pick the nursing home…or not. Children are not ten-foot tall, bulletproof and invisible. Parents who raise children to think they are eventually reap what they have sown in children who cannot be bothered with their care in the “golden years”.
          …on a rant tonight…everywhere.

  2. Great post! One thing that youth can do that yields great returns is to visit senior’s homes. This brings an energy to the residence and a smile to the residents.This also teaches children that seniors aren’t to be feared, just loved and respected as they have a wealth of wisdom and wit to share.

    • That is why I suggest it in this and other posts. It is worth the time they spend together for so many reasons, not the least of which, what they can learn.

  3. My empathetic/philanthropic was different from some. My father was a pastor and my parents were always involved in people’s lives. Many times we had people staying with us or gave food etc. I learned to love others and give what I can, something I still practice today. I’ve never been able to outgive God.

    I see the lack of this as a problem for society. Today’s youth will indeed be our future government officials. Yikes! I’m not an advocate of forced volunteering. I do advocate parents teaching their children by doing, however. There are many, many ways to make a difference. Thanks for sharing. Angie

    • Do as I say not as I do never works. For the struggling parents, teaching youth to volunteer is good, especially when it happens in a group atmosphere, like church youth/mission groups or scouts or school- or community-based outreach projects.

      Yikes! indeed! Many bury their head in the sand living the division of church and state (and just as mistakenly spirituality and state) in order to satisfy the church’s prohibitions of malfeasance or the state’s secularism. Abiding one extreme or the other is the recipe for misanthropic legislation. The tenets necessary to have a philanthropic community are universal humanitarianism, not religion.


  4. Thus you hit the nail with a very large hammer. The self absorption of some children today is mind boggling. But then we can look around and see others who can bring us to our knees with their kind hearts and truly giving spirits.

    I remember growing up and always being engaged, I don’t think it was just me it was a generation. Yet I look around and it is that same generation that is now destroying our nation.

    • I have thought about what you said on more than one occasion. It baffles me. I wonder if there was a precipitating event where the tide truly turned or if it was a case of reverse heredity. I fully understand the concept of my children must have more than I did, yet I struggle with when, where and how it drove the society to where we now stand.

      I also recognize it is a stereotype, as I personally have met so very many philanthropic people in my travels to reassure me the possibility of gentility is not a lost art.

      Definitely something we will explore in posts to come, dear sister.

  5. Even if we are thoughtful, the examples we may set for our children of kindness, charity and philanthropy are often overshadowed by society’s demonstration, approval, and almost enforcement of greed, hedonism, selfishness and the “it’s about ME” attitude. Instant gratification and pleasing one’s self seldom includes sharing. Society really does need to be “unplugged” for a while and re-establish core values.

    • Would you take the last part of your statement over to What is the world coming to? please?

  6. bear

     /  January 16, 2012

    It all will come full circle,everything always does from economics to the food we are are not supposed to eat. Most of the children of this generation are spoiled brats who, instead of giving, take. I was brought up in a very different world where if I worked for it, I was able to get it, which taught me values.

    It also taught me to share and be kind. I practice what I preach, I lead by example and that’s how it’s done in my world!

  7. Cheers to that.

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