Foundation Guide

A Tour of Our Global Community of Giving

Foundation Guide

A Tour of Our Global Community of Giving

Spreading Awareness About the International Day of Charity


September 5 marks another year to celebrate International Day of Charity, where people from around the world focus on the amazing work of organizations, donors, volunteers, and social development programs. While the International Day of Charity became officially recognized by the United Nations in 2012, charitable giving and volunteering are certainly not new concepts.

The earliest recorded charitable act stems all the way back to 2,500 BC when a mandatory tax was instituted by Ancient Hebrews to benefit the poor. Since then, several other historic moments regarding charitable efforts have been recorded including Augustus, the first Roman Emperor in 28 BC, providing public aid to roughly 200,000 people during his reign. Harvard University in 1643 organized the first-ever fundraiser, raising 500 pounds, even before America was a recognized country. Furthermore, by 1913, charities were exempt from paying tax due to the Revenue Tax, and by 1914, the Cleveland Foundation was established in Cleveland, Ohio as the world’s first ever communal foundation.

Mother Teresa’s Charitable Legacy

Mother Teresa, painting by by Kumara Swamy

September 5 is a significant day to observe International Day of Charity because it was the day on which one of the world’s most important charitable leaders, Mother Teresa, passed away. Born in the Ottoman Empire on August 26, 1910 as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa devoted her life to religion by the age of 12. She became a missionary in Ireland when she was 18 and later moved to India, where she took her religious vows to become a nun.

By 1948, Mother Teresa had adopted Indian citizenship and worked with the poorest individuals in the country. Over her lifetime, she also opened multiple hospices and founded a congregation, leper house, and orphanages. At the time of her passing on September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa had worked for over 45 years in charitable giving. Her legacy will continue on as the Hungarian government and parliament set September 5 as a day to commemorate her work and the foundation she created for our modern civil service initiatives.

International Day of Charity – Why Is It So Important?

After Hungary created a day to honor Mother Teresa and her charitable efforts, the United Nations quickly recognized its possible influence on the rest of the world. This day applauds all charitable organizations, including Mother Teresa’s still-existing charities, and the power these organizations have in tackling various humanitarian crises. To help alleviate the world’s suffering, the UN focuses their efforts on people, the planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.

Furthermore, International Day of Charity provides a platform for organizations, non-profits, and businesses alike to spread awareness regarding charities of their choosing. There are plenty of ways to get involved in giving back that are simply not known about. This day offers a platform for connection and learning.

Charitable Giving from Around the World

There are incredible statistics from all across the globe when it comes to charitable giving. This means there are plenty of causes and organizations to take part in – there truly is something for everyone to get involved with! From sustainability to ending world hunger, and from education to helping homelessness, there is no shortage of ways for people to do their part. Some motivating facts include:

  • 69% of the world’s population gives to a charity, proving there are many organizations out there to get involved with.
  • Roughly 64% of all donations are made by women, who continue to show their support and encouragement in giving.
  • 60% of millennials donate a large portion to charities, equating to roughly $480 per person, each year.
  • Over 30% of the global population donates to charities outside their country of residence.
  • Corporate fundraising raises approximately $5 billion each year, with an estimated $2-3 billion coming from a matched-gift program.
  • Roughly 63 million Americans volunteer each year, spending an average of 52 hours of their time annually.

How to Get Involved

There are an endless amount of ways to get involved this year on International Day of Charity, including volunteering your time, hosting an event to raise money, getting involved with a local cause, raising awareness with friends and family, or donating to a charity with close personal meaning. Start by researching local organizations that have meaning to you. It’ll mean more to you if you have a personal connection!

To learn more about International Day of Charity or how to get more involved visit:

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