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n. 1) in general the sentiment of benevolence, doing good works, assisting the less fortunate, philanthropy, and contributing to the general public. 2) an organization which exists to help those in need or provide educational, scientific, religious and artistic assistance to members of the public. Charities are usually corporations established under state guidelines and require IRS approval in order for contributions to them to be deductible from gross income by donors.

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the giving of money to help the needy or a body that is established to administer such donations. The concept of charity dates from a permission given by the Emperor Constantine allowing subjects to make bequests to the church. This facility came to be so abused that it was severely restricted by the Emperor Valentinian; this restraint was, however, gradually relaxed so that by the time of Justinian it had become a fixed maxim of the civil law that bequests to pious uses were entitled to privileged treatment. In English law, the State of Charitable Uses Act of 1601 codified the received law up to that point, and the preamble to that statute still provides the starting point for the definition of charity in modern law. This, according to the House of Lords, comprises gifts for the relief of poverty, for the advancement of religion, for the advancement of education, and for other purposes beneficial to the community not falling under any of the preceding heads but within the words or spirit of the Act of 1601. A charitable trust is treated more favourably than others, in that it is not subject to the rule against PERPETUITIES, it is not subject to the beneficiary principle that requires that trusts be for the benefit of persons rather than of purposes, and it attracts favourable tax treatment. To qualify as charitable, however, a gift must be exclusively charitable, that is, it must be so conditioned that no part of it can be devoted to any non-charitable purpose. If a charitable gift fails because the object no longer exists or the purpose has been satisfied, the gift maybe applied CY PRES to the satisfaction of similar charitable purposes. Charities are under the general jurisdiction of the Charity Commissioners in England and Wales and the Lord Advocate in Scotland. In Scotland, for tax purposes, charity and charitable purposes are to be interpreted according to English law.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CHARITY. In its widest sense it denotes all the good affections which men ought to bear towards each other; 1 Epistle to Cor. c. xiii.; in its most restricted and usual sense, it signifies relief to the poor. This species of charity is a mere moral duty, which cannot be enforced by the law. Kames on Eq. 17. But it is not employed in either of these senses in law; its signification is derived chiefly from the statute of 43 Eliz. c. 4. Those purposes are considered charitable which are enumerated in that act, or which by analogy are deemed within its spirit and intendment. 9 Ves. 405; 10 Ves, 541; 2 Vern. 387; Shelf. Mortm. 59. Lord Chancellor Camden describes a charity to be a gift to a general public use, which extends to the rich as well as to the poor. Ambl. 651; Boyle on Charities, 51; 2 Ves. sen. 52; Ambl. 713; 2 Ves. jr. 272; 6 Ves. 404; 3 Rawle, 170; 1 Penna. R. 49 2 Dana, 170; 2 Pet. 584; 3 Pet. 99, 498 9 Cow. 481; 1 Hawks, 96; 12 Mass. 537; 17 S. & R. 88; 7 Verm. 241; 5 Harr. & John. 392; 6 Harr. & John. 1; 9 Pet. 566; 6 Pet. 435; 9 Cranch, 331; 4 Wheat. 1; 9 Wend. 394; 2 N. H. Rep. 21, 510; 9 Cow. 437; 7 John. Cb. R. 292; 3 Leigh. 450; 1 Dev. Eq. Rep. 276; 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 3976, et seq.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Working together on a philanthropic project can help parents teach their children about the family's wealth and to what uses it can profitably and charitably be put.
As charitably as I could, I led them to imagine that they had just discovered they were unexpectedly pregnant.
Or, to put it less charitably, lying, like the woman who assures Matt Tebbutt tonight that the apples on the supermarket shelves would have been picked no more than 48 hours ago when in reality they've been in storage for months.
It also has photo contests and picture-sharing, and allows participants to become charitably involved.
Charity seems to have been lacking on the part of the Hippodrome management despite the fact that we are requested to support the Hippodrome charitably, not least through the absurd handling charge for tickets if we choose to pay in ready cash.
United have not crossed swords in a league fixture with Dundee since the later's relegation to the second tier seven years ago, and - from a business sense at least - their city counterparts charitably backed their bid to replace Rangers every inch of the way.
Even in West Virginia, where conflicts of interest tend to be viewed charitably, having the speaker of the house simultaneously serve as a union's general counsel proved to be too much for the state ethics commission to stomach.
The underside is encrusted with a coarse, unidentifiable substance that can only charitably be described as patina.
A fairly encouraging eighth on his comeback this month, Split Ear was charitably dropped 3lb by the handicapper and now races from a mark 4lb lower than when bolting up at Sligo two summers ago.
The Kingston Republican authored what most observers considered to be a compromise bill that won the support of Secretary of State Bill Gardner and town and city clerks, who had what can charitably called serious concerns about a piece of voter ID legislation making its way through the House.
We were reminded yet again of just how dodgy the question of 'charity' really is, when this morning we read about some of Dubai's own youthful charitably souls at the Canadian University of Dubai who have been raising money for a UK charity, Homeless International.

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