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What does Philanthropy mean to you?

At YSM, we use the word philanthropy a lot. It’s a fundamental component of our mission to end chronic poverty, a way for an individual, or even very many people, to participate in our vision. But if I were to ask you are you a philanthropist? I wonder what your response would be.

I recognize philanthropy can sound daunting or even very elevated compared to our everyday lives. It could also mean different things to different people –  even at YSM, we all may have different ideas about what  philanthropy means.

What our staff says. . .

So I posed that question to some of our staff who serve in the philanthropy world every day, and here’s what they shared:

“Philanthropy is a demonstration of the values I learned in church as a child — i.e. ‘And he answered them, ‘whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.’ (Luke 3:11). We all have so much, so to share with others is just right. And, in doing so, and in learning to live with less, I feel we come to appreciate what we have more and so value it more.” – Caroline, Director of Development

“To me it means generosity, giving what you have – time, treasure, talent – to make the world a better place. With that definition in mind, everyone can be a philanthropist. For someone to participate in philanthropy they need only consider what they have to give and then give it, generously.” – Angela, VP of Philanthropy

“Philanthropy . . . is to be part of the solution in correcting social injustices, whether in direct relief or in being a catalyst in someone’s life so that they can grow into the best expression of themselves, and set their life on a trajectory where they can thrive and impact the world in a positive way. Some people are blessed in making money, and that’s what they can give. Others have skills they could use to help someone who needs them. Give what you have, from who you are, where you are.” – Barb, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships

“Philanthropy is the kindness of strangers. Philanthropy is caring for people you may likely never meet. Philanthropy is showing compassion for those who may be struggling around you. Philanthropy is loving without borders.” – Jessica, Donations Processing Coordinator

“We can all give or do something to help someone struggling. For example, donate any monetary amount (no donation is too small), volunteer – serve a meal, tutor a student, visit a senior, or connect people to someone who can help them – employers, mental health counsellors or housing workers.” – Eleanor, Community Engagement & Fundraising Specialist

“Philanthropy is so much more than just donating money. Philanthropy can be about donating your time, your knowledge, or experience, or your influence. Likely, people participate in philanthropy all the time! Donating a twoonie at the grocery store, dropping off used clothes at a charity store, or even sharing an important news article online can all be considered a philanthropic act.” – Shelby, Volunteer Coordinator

“Philanthropy is any and every way in which a person is actively supporting improved wellbeing among people, communities, animals, and the environment — all focused on public good. Essentially, helping society with the goal of a lasting solution to the issues facing our world.” – Stacie Mohandas, Grant Specialist

So, are you a philanthropist?

With all this in mind, I ask you again, are you a philanthropist?

I don’t doubt you are. Whether it’s supporting YSM with your gifts or time, or whether you’re helping your neighours fix up their house, or lending a compassionate ear to someone who needs it, you are practicing philanthropy every day.

For all that and more, we thank you. Thank you for your generous heart for YSM, our community and beyond. Because of your philanthropy, lives are changed every day and our community continues to be cared for.

GIVE 6IX logo

For our 125th anniversary we’re inviting the city of Toronto to GIVE 6IX to “the Six” in any way, from anywhere, to help change the lives of neighbours struggling with poverty . . .

If you’re looking for ways to give your time as part of your philanthropy, we’re always looking for great volunteers to join our team. If you’re interested, visit us at for all current opportunities!

What’s your 6IX? Learn more and get inspired at