The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Charity is a term in Christian theology (one of the three virtues), meaning loving kindness towards others; it is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. In its most extreme form charity can be self-sacrificial. Charity is one conventional English translation of the Greek term agape.

Charity is the short form for charitable trust, a charitable foundation, or a corporation set up entirely for charitable purposes. These are set up for specific causes, such as curing diseases; providing goods or services for people or areas that lack them; nature conservation; and many others. In some countries (including the UK, Canada, Australia, and the United States) a charitable organization needs, by law, to register with the government. This is to reduce the possibilities of fraud and increase the opportunities for charities to receive tax breaks ; it also indirectly allows the government to influence the scope and agenda of charities (e.g. RSPCA Told to Put Human Needs Before Animal Pain).

Charity can also refer to the act of giving money, goods or time to such a charitable trust or other worthy cause.

In Greek Mythology, the Charites (note: not Charities, the proper plural of Charity) were the goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility; also better known as the Graces. See Charites.

Charity is also used as a forename.

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