Mark your calendars! National Philanthropy Day is November 15 (who knew, right?)! It’s a day that the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) celebrates each year to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—have made to our lives, our communities, and our world.

How often do we really think about philanthropy and what it means for our community? To help us celebrate, we asked a few of our students for their thoughts on what philanthropy means to them and why it’s important for a community (or a school) to be philanthropic. We videotaped their responses, and we’ll release it on Nov. 15.

The adorable Noah H. in HATS guessed that philanthropy meant “to go outside” (he’s three years old, so I cut him a break!). Acklynn B. ’16 broke the word down into its etymologic parts “philos=loving, anthropos=humanity” to come to her idea as to what it meant (I was seriously impressed). And, Catherine S. ’21 related philanthropy to current events and why it’s been important for communities not affected by Hurricane Sandy to come to the aid of those in need (very thoughtful!).

But, it was Julia T. ’23 who truly captured my heart. When asked what she thought philanthropy meant, she replied, “Do you mean like my birthday party?” She then informed me that every year, rather than ask for birthday presents, she collects donations and gives them to an organization that she feels does good work. This past year she gave the donations to Susquehanna Service Dogs, prior to that she and her family supported the Central PA Food Bank and provided mosquito nets to help fight malaria.

I was floored that this red-haired, vibrant seven-year-old would rather ask for donations than receive toys for her birthday! It was fantastic to watch her animatedly talk about her philanthropic support. It’s clear that she understands what it means to give back to her community and to help others. And, that’s what National Philanthropy Day is all about.

A special thank you to all of the students who gave their thoughts about philanthropy: Noah H. ’27, Juliana S. ’26, Maggie M. ’26, Mikayla T. ’25, Annabel H. ’24, Jeremy S.’24, Julia T. ’23, Julian G. ’22, Catherine S. ’21, Nate S. ’20, Sydney C. ’18, Gillian B. ’17, Owen F. ’17, Suleman A. ’16, Acklynn B. ’16, Austin C. ’13 and Noel P. ’13.  We can’t wait to share this special video with the Academy community next week!

11/15/12 update: The video is now live! Click here to view it.