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The Global Spirit of Philanthropy and Altruism: Meanings, Experiences, and Some Biological Roots

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ngos and the voluntary nonprofit sector are ultimately based on altruism and philanthropy in humans. Altruism may be defined as unselfish concern for the welfare and satisfactions of others. Research in the past 30 years has demonstrated that 30-50% of a person’s tendency to feel and practice altruism is based on our genes and dna. Because philanthropy is a broad, more universal form of altruism, such research indicates that philanthropy in humans also has evolutionary roots in our dna. Such research supports the conclusion that there is a Global Spirit of Altruism, hardwired into the human species as a feeling, attitude, and behavior tendency. Similarly, there has been a Global Spirit of Philanthropy emerging in humans over the past two millennia, and especially in the past two centuries.

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