Philanthropy refers to voluntary work intended for socially useful purposes. In the modern-day context, philanthropy is typically performed by organizations backed by large personal fortunes. The goals of philanthropy include, but is not limited to, eradication of poverty, hunger, and disease; support for education initiatives; and support for environmental conservation.
Philanthropic organizations have existed since the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The practice was preserved by the Christian Church throughout the Middle Ages while Islam threatened to destroy Western civilization. Today, people of faith lead the way in terms of charitable donations and volunteer activity.
The word "philanthropy" is taken from the Latin philanthropia, itself taken from the Greek, a derivative of philanthropos (φιλάνθρωπος). Philanthropos is a combination of phil- ("loving") + anthropos ("mankind").