CFs encourages “philanthropy” which is broadly defined to mean “the love for humanity”. Philanthropy has distinguishing characteristics separate from charity; not all charity is philanthropy, or vice versa, though there is a recognized degree of overlap in practice. A difference commonly cited is that charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem—the difference between the proverbial gift of a fish to a hungry person, versus teaching them how to fish.
The ICA therefore utilize the vehicle of the Community Foundation to give local communities a mechanism through which they can give towards their own communities and the causes that they care and are concerned about the most. The people have the power to transform their own conditions.