Philanthropy Quotes

Acts 20:35

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Jane Addams

…social advance depends quite as much upon an increase in moral sensibility as it does upon a sense of duty…


No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Mohamed Al-Fayed

I will continue to distribute blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing and food on a regular basis, in the hope that my modest efforts will give some comfort to those people we are able to help.

Maya Angelou

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

Maya Angelou

One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it.


To give away money is an easy matter and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter.


Yet the true friend of the people should see that they be not too poor, for extreme povery lowers the character of the democracy; measures therefore should be taken which will give them lasting prosperity; and as this is equally the interest of all classes, the proceeds of the public revenues should be accumulated and distributed among its poor, if possible, in such quantities as may enable them to purchase a little farm, or, at any rate, make a beginning in trade or husbandry.

Sir Francis Bacon

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel nor man come in danger by it.

James Baldwin

We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.

Henry Ward Beecher

Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven.

Sarah Bernhardt

Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.

Michael Bloomberg

Every dollar makes a difference. And that’s true whether it’s Warren Buffet’s remarkable $31 billion pledge to the Gates Foundation or my late father’s $25 check to the NAACP.

Michael Bloomberg

I’ve always respected those who tried to change the world for the better, rather than just complain about it.

Michael Bloomberg

The truth of the matter is: you can create a great legacy, and inspire others, by giving it to philanthropic organizations.

Louis D. Brandeis

We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.

Richard Branson

Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them. It would be so much better if that money was spent in Africa – and it’s about getting a balance.

Pearl S. Buck

The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.

Doris Buffet

We’re only here for a small amount of time and we want to see how much good we can do while we’re here and I always say that there’ll be… in the future, there would be many millionaires and they can take care of those problems but I’m here now and I’m trying to do what I can.

Warren Buffett

If you’re in the luckiest 1pc of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99pc.

John Bunyan

A man there was, though some did count him mad. The more he cast away, the more he had.

George Burns

When you stop giving and offering something to the rest of the world, it’s time to turn out the lights.

Albert Camus

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.

Thomas Carlyle

Not what I have but what I do is my kingdom.

Andrew Carnegie

I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.

Andrew Carnegie

Wealth is not to feed our egos but to feed the hungry and to help people help themselves.

Chinese Proverb

The family that perseveres in good works will surely have an abundance of blessings.

Bill Clinton

We live in an interdependent world.  Every time you cut off somebody else’s opportunities, you shrink your own horizons.


When wealth is centralized, the people are dispersed. When wealth is distributed, the people are brought together.

Calvin Coolidge

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

Madame Curie

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.

Diana, Princess of Wales

Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life – a kind of destiny.

Charles Dickens

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Albert Einstein

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.

George Eliot

Blessed influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

George Eliot

One must be poor to know the luxury of giving.

George Eliot

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself… Serve and thou shall be served.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The only gift is a portion of thyself.

Henry Ford

The highest use of capital is not to make more money but to make money to do more for the betterment of life.

Anne Frank

How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.

Benjamin Franklin

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

Benjamin Franklin

Having emerg’d from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born & bred, to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world, and having gone so far thro’ life with a considerable share of felicity, the conducing means I made use of, which, with the blessing of God, so well succeeded, my posterity may like to know, as they may find some of them suitable to their own situations, and therefore fit to be imitated.

Benjamin Franklin

He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.

Benjamin Franklin

I would rather have it said, ‘He lived usefully,’ than, ‘He died rich.’

Melinda French Gates

Helping people doesn’t have to be an unsound financial strategy.

Melinda French Gates

The premise of this foundation is one life on this planet is no more valuable than the next.

Melinda French Gates

We started our foundation because we believe we have a real opportunity to help advance equity around the world, to help make sure that, no matter where a person is born, he or she has the chance to live a healthy, productive life.

Erich Fromm

Not he who has much is rich but he who gives much.

Mohandas Gandhi

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.

John Gardner

Wealth is not new. Neither is charity. But the idea of using private wealth imaginatively, constructively, and systematically to attack the fundamental problems of mankind is new.

Bill Gates

Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we’d want to get involved.

German Proverb

Charity looks at the need and not at the cause.

Kahlil Gibran

Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.

Kahlil Gibran

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The deed is everything, the glory naught.

Thomas Gray

Scatter plenty o’er a smiling land.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Generosity is the flower of justice.

Carlos Slim Helu

I’ve always said that the better off you are, the more responsibility you have for helping others. Just as I think it’s important to run companies well, with a close eye to the bottom line, I think you have to use your entrepreneurial experience to make corporate philanthropy effective.

Conrad Hilton

Charity is a supreme virtue, and the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts.

Conrad Hilton

There is a natural law, a Divine law, that obliges you and me to relieve the suffering, the distressed and the destitute.

Conrad Hilton

The practice of charity will bind us…will bind all men in one great brotherhood.

Hindu Proverb

Help thy brother’s boat across and lo! thine own has reached the shore.


Sometimes give your services for nothing.


By Jove the stranger and the poor are sent, and what to those we give, to Jove is lent.


It never was our guise to slight the poor, or aught humane despise.

Bob Hope

If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.


Don’t just put it off and think about it!

Victor Hugo

As the purse is emptied the heart is filled.

Lee Iacocca

My father used to say, ‘You can spend a lot of time making money. The tough time comes when you have to give it away properly.’ How to give something back, that’s the tough part in life.

William James

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

Clarence Jordan

What the poor need is not charity but capital, not caseworkers but coworkers. And what the rich need is a wise, honorable and just way of divesting themselves of their overabundance.

Helen Keller

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

Helen Keller

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

John F. Kennedy

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

John F. Kennedy

The raising of extraordinarily large sums of money, given voluntarily and freely by millions of our fellow Americans, is a unique American tradition… Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely… call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.

Robert F. Kennedy

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Robert F. Kennedy

Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Life’s persistent and most urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’

Martin Luther King Jr.

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

Koran (2: 215)

They will question you concerning what they should bestow voluntarily. Say: ‘Whatever good thing you bestow is for parents and kinsmen, orphans, the needy and strangers and whatever good you do God has knowledge of it.’

Koran (2: 261)

Those who bestow their wealth in the way of God are like the grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, a hundred grains in every ear. So God multiplies for those whom he will.

Koran (2: 264)

Oh, believers, do not void your freewill offerings with reproach and injury as one who bestows of his substance to show off to men and believes not in God and the Last Day.

Koran (2: 271)

If you publish your voluntary offerings, that is good; but if you conceal them, and give them to the poor, that is better for you, and will acquit you of your evil deeds.

Koran (2: 274)

Whatever good you do, surely God has knowledge of it. Those who expend their wealth night and day, openly or secretly, their reward awaits them with their Lord.

Koran (3: 92)

You will not attain true piety until you voluntarily give of that which you love and whatever you give, God knows of it.

Rabbi Harold Kushner

Being kind to others is a way of being good to yourself.

Charles Lamb

The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.

Charles Lamb

Shut not thy purse-strings always against painted distress.

Ann Landers

Do your givin’ while you’re livin’… then you’ll be knowin’ where it’s goin’.

Emma Lazarus

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Leviticus 19: 9-10

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.

C.S. Lewis

The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gifts…Thus a heavy task is laid upon Gift-love.  It must work toward its own abdication.  We must aim at making ourselves superfluous.  The hour when we can say ‘They need me no longer’ should be our reward.  But the instinct, simply in its own nature, has no power to fulfill this law.

Abraham Lincoln

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad; and that’s my religion.

Jack London

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.

James Russell Lowell

Not what we give, but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare.

James Russell Lowell

Who gives himself with his alms feeds three, himself, his hungering neighbor and me.

John Mackey

There can be little doubt that a certain amount of corporate philanthropy is simply good business and works for the long-term benefit of the investors.

Moses Maimonides

The Levels of Tzedakah (Charity)
Enabling the recipient to become self-reliant
Giving when neither party knows the other’s identity
Giving when one knows the recipient’s identity, but the recipient doesn’t know the donor’s identity
Giving when one does not know the recipient’s identity, but the recipient knows the identity of the donor
Giving before being asked
Giving after being asked
Giving less that one should, but giving it cheerfully
Giving begrudgingly

Horace Mann

To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is Godlike.

Cotton Mather

Instead of exhorting you to augment your charity, I will rather utter an exhortation, or at least a supplication, that you may not abuse your charity by misapplying it.

Mary McLeod Bethune

As I give, I get.

Margaret Mead

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.


A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good he does in this world to his fellow man.

Thomas Moss

Pity the sorrows of a poor man, whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door.


He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.

Apostle Paul, I Corinthians 13:13

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

William Penn

Do good with what thou hast, or it will do thee no good.

Anthony Robbins

Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.

John D. Rockefeller

Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.

John D. Rockefeller

I was trained from the beginning to work, to save.  I have always regarded it a as a religious duty to get all I could honorably and to give all I could.

John D. Rockefeller

The best philanthropy is constantly in search of the finalities—a search for a cause, an attempt to cure evils at their source.

John D. Rockefeller

Think of giving not only as a duty but as a privilege.

Eleanor Roosevelt

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

Theodore Roosevelt

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

John Ruskin

We are, after all, only trustees of the wealth we possess. Without the community and its resources… there would be little wealth for anyone.

Albert Schweitzer

Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Everyman has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth.  You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own.  Your brothers are here too.

Albert Schweitzer

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.

Sir Walter Scott

The race of mankind would perish did they cease to aid each other.  We cannot exist without mutual help. All, therefore, that need aid have a right to ask it from their fellow men; and no one who has the power of granting can refuse it without guilt.


Whatever we give to the wretched, we lend to fortune.


A benefit consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.


Let him that hath done the good office conceal it; let him that received it disclose it.

Dr. Seuss

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

William Shakespeare

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.

William Shakespeare

Tis not enough to help the feeble up but to support him after.

George Bernard Shaw

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community. And as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thorougly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.  Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold of for a short moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.

George Soros

I’m not doing my philanthropic work, out of any kind of guilt, or any need to create good public relations. I’m doing it because I can afford to do it, and I believe in it.

George Soros

My foundations support people in the country who care about an open society. It’s their work that I’m supporting. So it’s not me doing it. But I can empower them. I can support them, and I can help them.

Benedict Baruch Spinoza

He who has conferred a benefit on anyone from motives of love or honor will feel pain, if he sees that the benefit is received without gratitude.

Bessie A. Stanley

To laugh often and to love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of oneself; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded.

Sir Henry Taylor

He who gives only what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.

John Templeton

An attitude of gratitude creates blessings. Help yourself by helping others. You have the most powerful weapons on earth – love and prayer.

Mother Teresa

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

Mother Teresa

To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

Henry David Thoreau

Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind.

Alexis de Tocqueville

The Americans make associations to give entertainment, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner, they found hospitals, prisons and schools.

David E. Trueblood

It takes a noble man to plant a seed for a tree that will someday give shade to people he may never meet.

Ted Turner

As I started getting rich, I started thinking, ‘what the hell am I going to do with all this money?’… You have to learn to give.


Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.


I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.


Being myself no stranger to suffering, I have learned to relieve the sufferings of others.

Booker T. Washington

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.

Booker T. Washington

…the most useful and influential people in [America] are those who take the deepest interest in institutions that exist for the purpose of making the world better.

Woodrow Wilson

There is no cause half so sacred as the cause of the people. There is no idea so uplifting as the idea of the service of humanity.

Oprah Winfrey

I choose to rise up out of that storm and see that in moments of desperation, fear, and helplessness, each of us can be a rainbow of hope, doing what we can to extend ourselves in kindness and grace to one another. And I know for sure that there is no them – there’s only us.

Oprah Winfrey

It’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life.

William Wordsworth

Give all thou canst; high Heaven rejects the lore of nicely-caluculated less or more.

William Wordsworth

On that best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

The Reverend Mae “Mother” Wyatt

When we plant a tree, we don’t plant it for ourselves but for our children.

Mark Zuckerburg

With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.