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Philanthropic actions are characterized by being an immediate response to the needs of a community, especially in the face of natural disasters, vulnerable groups, etc.They are of great help and praiseworthy, but are not considered Social Responsibility.


Philanthropy is considered as an antecedent and complement to Social Responsibility, it differs from social responsibility in several aspects such as the duration of the actions, because in philanthropy there is no monitoring of the impact of the donation, nor does it have to be aligned with the field of the organization.

To understand the term philanthropy, we invite you to watch the following video:Learning to Give. (2017, 23 june). Philanthropy and Service-Learning: Why do they matter?


Eexamples of corporate philanthropy

Andrew Carnegie (1888-1955)

Steel magnate who built 2,509 public libraries. His best-known construction is Carnegie Hall (1890), a concert hall created to promote culture. As you can see, his philanthropic work was not related to steel nor sought to protect or enhance the rights of his workers.

Eexamples of corporate philanthropy

John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937)

Made his fortune in the oil industry. His main philanthropic action consisted in helping universities such as Yale, Columbia, and Harvard. The Rockefeller building, a well-known New York landmark, bears his name and has given his descendants a fortune in the real estate business.

Eexamples of corporate philanthropy

Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Founder of the automobile industry. It is said that he made the automobile available to everyone, he is also known for having reduced manufacturing costs by implementing the mass production model.These low production costs allowed him to increase the salary of his workers, that is to say, he was concerned about the quality of life of his employees. This is the moment of transition from philanthropy to Social Responsibility. The transition from philanthropy to Social Responsibility begins with Henry Ford.

Example in Mexico

Eugenio Garza Sada (1892-1973)

Founder of companies such as HYLSA, Visa, Cervecería Cuahutémoc, Coca-Cola FEMSA, etc. He is considered to have been a man ahead of his time due to his concern with the welfare of his workers and their families. The measures he implemented within his companies have since become an example for government institutions:

Example in Mexico

He founded the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, which initially had no cost for his employees as a way to improve their professional development. He facilitated the access to housing for his employees, offering affordable loans and establishing Patrimonio para la Vivienda de los Trabajadores A.C. (Workers' Housing Patrimony), which became the model for the current Infonavit.

From Philanthropy to Social Responsibility


The integration of the social and sustainable development concerns in the creation of the: - Strategic value - Business model or Practices - Value chainSynergies are generated with different social actors to achieve the common good, not to better the company's image.Corporate social responsibility actions are aligned with the company's business model.The actions seek to empower the receiver in the long term.


A decision made to provide financial resources to a group of people on an isolated or frequent basis.Provides one-time assistance to a group without getting involved.Chooses vulnerable groups to help, unrelated to the company's activities.Sometimes only seeks to improve the image of the organization.General donations

Paradigm Shift

The following points will serve as a guide to understand the difference and evolution between Philanthropy and Social Responsibility- From donation to social investment.- From having an impact on concrete goods, to the generating social processes in favor of social welfare.- From having a partial vision of reality to an integral vision of society.- From scattered punctual actions to permanent programs.- From non-committal or one-time donations to corporate funds.- From informality and non-transparency to accountability.- From improvised action to the professionalization of activities aligned with the company's main business activity.