Charity wasvalued in the past. In the past,charity was carried out by the wealthy as a means of giving back to thecommunity. It was a value held high in regard. Means for wealthy philanthropists to make an impact or extend their influence – noblesse oblige Building schools, hospitals and public institutions Missionary groups started schools, orphanages and provided other important social services Public services back then were usually not as comprehensive, with limited govt funding E.g. SG pioneers were well-known philanthropists such as Tan Tock Seng and Tan Kah Kee Funded schools and hospices as a way to contribute to society E.
g. Rockefeller Foundation – private foundation established in early 20th century Profound impact on american society Financially supported education in US “without distinction of race, sex or creed” Established renowned Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Harvard School of Public Health Today, it seemsto be declining, eclipsed by other competing values. 21st century is characterized to have a more materialistic and consumerist culture – pursuit of a pleasure-seeking lifestyle Acquisition of material wealth is fully justified and endorsed by most Seen as a trope of success Intense competition in most meritocracies requires one to think of one’s own self-interest first Notion of giving or helping takes a backseat Some have the notion that the poor or those who have fallen behind to not deserve help because they are not good enough / have not done enough to keep up with the rat race, thus do not deserve help E.g.
former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney commented at a private fund raising dinner that 47% Americans who don’t pay tax are poor because they are not taking responsibility for themselves Increasing wariness towards offering charity as some see this as merely enabling their lack of initiative to take responsibility for themselves Charity is dispensable when an individual feels his well-being is compromised if he gives to another person in need. More crucial to meet his own needs first E.g.
plight of Syrian refugees have created one of the biggest humanitarian crisis in the last decade Met with hostile response from European nations Less than welcoming as migrants are seen as people who are too culturally different to be accepted and require millions of dollars to upkeep Widespread discrimination against in Germany where hostels for refugees have been attacked and torched Today, complex business of philanthropy has been dogged by scandals that has led to donors being more sceptical about charitable causes Unaccountability and lack of transparency in some organisations have raised questions about their credibility, use of funds and how much of the donor’s money actually goes to helping the recipients of charity E.g. 2012 viral Invisible Children campaign revealed that charity mismanaged donor funds Channeled them to film-making and promotional work rather than those it purports to help Faced considerable public backlash E.g. Cambodia orphanages invited media scrutiny Set up solely to tap on foreigners pity, when some orphans are in fact children with families E.
g. Trump’s son Eric faced media scrutiny over revelations about his charity for children with cancer Funnelled up to $1.2 mill to Trump Organization for use of a golf course for a charity event Notion of charity has been sullied, thus people are more hesitant towards giving Even so, thereis still place for it today as people have not stopped being generous andshowing their desire to help those in need. Despite discouraging signs that seem to point to the decline of charity in our consciousness today, there are many who still believe in the virtue of charity enough to commit themselves to it E.g. wealthy philanthropists Bill Gates and Warren Buffet Bucked trend of keeping wealth to themselves and in fact pledged to give most of it away E.g. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Made significant difference to improving healthcare for the poor especially in prevention of malaria and cholera in Africa E.
g. Zuckerberg and Chan foundation New initiatives to find cures and vaccines for diseased People who still give despite having little E.g. Greece Not in the best position but have not given up on charity Local Greeks face austerity drive and struggling economy but are known to help refugees who land on their shores by giving out milk to infants and clothes to adults Charity is timeless and universal, relevant regardless of times Individuals have responded generosity to perfect strangers who may have little in common with themselves E.g.
crowdfunding platforms Give ASIA and kiva.org Social media has made giving much more accessible, changing the nature of charitable giving Donors can now respond to individual causes as they deem fit Increasing awareness due to social media and technological advances Charity isstill very much valued and evident in many aspects of society. Some may becynical, given the fact that it has been exploited to unethical entities thatseek to profit from to rather than to do good. But this does not been charityhas lost its place entirely today. There are still many that commit themselvesto charity to help those in need and change the world for the better.