10/17/2012 05:07 EDT | Updated 12/17/2012 05:12 EST

The New Philanthropy Requires Imagination

For many, the word itself is precious, off-putting, out-of-date. "Philanthropy." What is it about? It conjures up the image of an old aristocrat, living amongst dusty paintings, classic sculptures and Louis XIV-period furniture. These days however, across the world, philanthropy finds itself at the heart of a young, technological and urban revolution.

Sure, there are those who, after having accumulated significant wealth, decide to get involved anonymously or publicly in cultural or social causes. It is however the digital revolution that has supported the emergence of a new kind of philanthropy. In this new collective philanthropy, many individuals can pool their resources to support great endeavours, whether it be an artistic, literary or humanitarian cause.

One example we can think of is Haïti, where the Red Cross was able almost instantly to accumulate millions of dollars with one simple call to action: "Text Haiti to 90999." Other examples are the innovative, web-based campaigns on sites such as Kickstarter, Crowdtilt and Kiva. How can we forget the recent story of Max Sidorov, who raised more then $700 000 against bullying using, in a campaign that proved to be such a compelling story.

The Young Philanthropists Circle of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Philanthropy is evolving, and the Young Philanthropists Circle of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts wants to be part of the revolution. After all, what is philanthropy but a way to contribute, each in its own way and within one's means, to collectivity? And cultural philanthropy has this uniqueness of feeding not only the soul, but also creativity and imagination, as well as enabling a temporary escape from reality to gain news perspectives on the world. Being a cultural philanthropist is first and foremost believing that art should be an important part of our society and that it contributes to making our world a better place.

Joining the Young Philanthropists Circle means becoming an ambassador of the arts, and of the importance of giving to society, to better receive. Members of the Young Philanthropists Circle are also supporting a century-old institution that relies on private donation to exist, having decided to make its main collections accessible to all through a free-access policy. This new organisation,The Young Philanthropists Circle of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, is all that. This is why I, along with many others, am supporting this cause and invite you to do the same by joining us and becoming a member of the Young Philanthropists Circle of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and visit our website to learn more about our activities.