The prime purpose of the International Day of Charity is to raise awareness and provide a common platform for charity related activities all over the world for individuals, charitable, philanthropic and volunteer organizations for their own purposes on the local, national, regional and international level.
The International Day of Charity was conceived as a Hungarian civil society initiative supported by the Hungarian Parliament and Government in 2011, to enhance visibility, organize special events, and in this way to increase solidarity, social responsibility and public support for charity running in the streets for money
September 5 was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 "for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace."
Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Albanian: 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), commonly known as Mother Teresa and honoured in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She was born in Skopje (now the capital of North Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Skopje for eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.
In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that had over 4,500 nuns and was active in 133 countries in 2012.
On 17 December 2012, in response to a proposal by Hungary, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus to designate 5 September as the International Day of Charity. The resolution was co-sponsored by 44 UN member states (Albania, Angola, Australia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malta, Montenegro, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine) representing all five Regional Groups of the United Nations.
In its resolution, the General Assembly invited Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, stakeholders, as well as NGOs of the civil society, to commemorate the International Day of Charity in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.
On 5 September 2013, the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Foundation and with the support of the United Nations Department of Information, marked the first commemoration of the International Day of Charity at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The commemoration started with keynote speeches by Assistant Secretary-General Robert C. Orr, Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the UN Foundation and Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project. Two panel discussions moderated by Matthew Bishop from The Economist and Ruma Bose, author of Mother Teresa CEO, explored the role of charity in poverty alleviation and in promoting access to clean water and sanitation. Speakers represented leading organizations in the field of philanthropy, including charity: water, WaterAid, The Resource Alliance, the Foundation Center and The Coca-Cola Foundation.
Discussions focused on lessons learned and the role of the non-profit sector in the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Secretary-General sent a written message on the occasion of the International Day of Charity.