* The art of philanthropy is often misunderstood. The origins of the word stretch back to Greek and Roman times and mean "loving mankind."
Webster's defines philanthropy as "goodwill to fellow men, esp. active effort to promote human welfare." Webster's refers to the "philanthropic act or gift" and the organizations that distribute or are supported by philanthropic gifts.
On Nov. 20, National Philanthropy Day, breakfasts, lunches and dinners were held across our nation to celebrate those people who demonstrate their love for humankind by making gifts of money, goods, services and time to countless community organizations.
The organizations that rely on philanthropy improve our lives from the arts to religion, from education to social services, from school athletics to youth clubs.
Here in Orange County, voices of youth choirs were raised in joyous celebration of the act of giving selflessly, the act of philanthropy. Through our youth we were reminded that philanthropy in Orange County is indeed something to sing about.
During the holiday season, as you pause to reflect on the past year and make gifts to loved ones, we ask that you take the meaning of "philanthropy" to heart.
We invite you to spread your love a little further by extending it to the greater community through the joy of sharing your money, goods, services and time with those organizations you perceive to make a difference every day.
And we invite you to continue to demonstrate that philanthropy throughout the new year.
GEORGE M. CHITTY
Chief executive officer
American Red Cross
Orange County chapter
MARIA CHAVEZ WILCOX
United Way of Orange County