Charity, philanthropy are comparable in several of their meanings. Both words denote basically a love for one’s fellowmen and a disposition to help those who are in need.
But charity in this sense tends to suggest a Christian virtue and the will to help, as well as the deed, whenever the occasion arises.
Philanthropy in this sense is much vaguer because it usually implies a love of mankind and a disposition to help the community or one’s fellowmen rather than the individual.
Consequently there is a tendency to think of charity as benevolence manifested especially in public or private provision for the relief of the poor, and of philanthropy as benevolence manifested in efforts to promote the welfare or well-being of one’s fellowmen; thus, out of charity one provides for the support of a destitute orphan; out of philanthropy one sends a large gift of money to an educational institution.
The terms also may be applied to what is done or given out of charity or philanthropy or to an institution or cause which is the object of such benefaction.