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Publishers Clearing House and the Spirit of Philanthropy

The roots of philanthropy at Publishers Clearing House grow deeper and stronger every year. Did you know that over 40% of PCH profits go to trusts for the benefit of charities? Well, it’s true. For many years, the name Publishers Clearing House has been synonymous with sweepstakes; however, very few people know that PCH also symbolizes philanthropy.

So what exactly is philanthropy? I know what charity means as do most people, but philanthropy…hmm…that can be a little more complicated, but in spirit, they’re really very similar. So let’s explore! Philanthropy actually means the love of humanity. Used in modern times, it means private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of life and is more often associated with the very wealthy who set up charitable trusts which oversee the distribution of funds to various organizations in need. Whereas charity is the singular act of giving something away – like donating to your local Goodwill store.

Modern philanthropists include such notable and recognizable names as actor Paul Newman, computer genius Bill Gates and financier Warren Buffet. Extremely notable but not as recognizable a name is the late Harold Mertz, co-founder with his wife, LuEsther, and daughter, Joyce Mertz-Gilmore, of – you guessed it! – Publishers Clearing House! With a “complete compulsion to reach out a hand to help,” while choosing to fly under the radar, so to speak, our founders pursued their philanthropic goals privately and quietly.

Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, Harold’s family had a simple work ethic: “Work not, eat not.” Having worked every day of his life from the time he was 12 years old, by the time he entered college on scholarship, he left after one year because he “needed to get out into the world to make money.” And, make money he did, as the company grew to become an American icon! But, for all the wealth Harold Mertz worked long and hard for over his years with PCH, his life was filled with many tragedies, including the loss of his son at age 18 and then his daughter.
Pursuing their initiatives for public good while even helping individuals directly, the Publishers Clearing House co-founders never asked for anything in return except a simple, “Thank you,” and a promise that should the time come when the person could help others, they would (Source: Philadelphia Inquirer – June 30, 1982).

You’re probably wondering what charities the Publishers Clearing House trusts have benefited over the years. So here’s a small sampling: various colleges and scholarship funds including Swarthmore College, construction of various schools, the National Audubon Society, the New York Botanical Gardens, various cultural and performing arts institutions such as the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Joyce Theatre and Lincoln Center, the Macular Degeneration Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association (Source: PCHSweepstakesInformationCenter).

I do hope you enjoyed this blog post and that you learned something new about Publishers Clearing House – I know I did! Please leave your comments below and let us know what you do to help others – whether you donate to charities or volunteer your time. We always love hearing from you. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about charities, philanthropy or anything else, make sure to visit PCHSearch&Win. You can find what you’re searching for there and maybe win a prize instantly. If you win you can have some money for yourself, and maybe a little extra to donate to your favorite charity.

Here’s to the spirit of giving,

Leslie Jaye
PCH Creative

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