Edited by Marilyn L. Taylor, Robert J. Strom and David O. Renz
Chapter 4: Women entrepreneurs and their approach to philanthropy
Philanthropy can be defined in a number of different ways. In general, dictionaries provide common definitions that focus on the gifting of financial resources (Free Dictionary, Miriam-Webster Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary). Other more comprehensive definitions are found, such as: ‘the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes’ (Oxford English Dictionary, 2013) or ‘the voluntary and unconditional redistribution of wealth by the private sector’ (Acs and Dana, 2001). Still other discussions combine the dedication of time and/or effort into the discussion (Coombs et al., 2008). Our approach is that each of these definitions actually includes research questions at their heart (motivation, context and other resources, respectively) and we therefore instead accept and work from the most basic starting point of the gifting of financial resources. In addition, we work from the premise that we are exploring philanthropy at the individual level, as separate from any corporate social responsibility or outreach or even social entrepreneurship. Philanthropy is not a modern-day phenomenon as historical studies have identified philanthropic activities in ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome and the Middle East. Certainly modern-day philanthropic activities are evident elsewhere as well. For the purposes of this chapter we will, however, confine ourselves within the boundaries of the United States.
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