I’m looking for a single catchy word or a short phrase to describe a person who is socially responsible. The “responsibility” meaning seems to be too official and not catchy enough. I’m looking for a word to deliver the idea of belonging, social involvement, caring, compassion, when company or person is not just announcing it’s belonging to some socially important deeds, but really delivers something good (money or pro bono help) to those who need it.

For example, I want to say

“Bob is a real/really _____”.

It can be in two words, but one is much better. It can be a slang word, a newly blended word, idiom, whatever comes to your mind when it's used in general speaking, writing or reading.

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    What's wrong with socially responsible? (What is the distinction that you're making?) Commented May 30, 2019 at 20:14
  • Jason, hi! I'm not saying "social responsible" is wrong. But it sounds too official and not catchy for communication with new gen, we are trying to find a new wording for it and form a new culture with it. Preferably to have one word or a blend... Commented May 31, 2019 at 12:55
  • So what do you consider to be too official (that should be avoided)? You need to provide some clear criteria as to what's acceptable and what isn't. Commented May 31, 2019 at 20:41
  • They put the hip in citizenship?
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 1:03

9 Answers 9


Consider mensch:

A very sound, reliable, or honorable person; a person with great integrity or strength of character. From the Yiddish word mentsh, with spelling taken from the German word Mensch (human being).
Tom's a real mensch, always willing to help a friend in need no matter what.
The Free Dictionary by FARLEX

  • Always a good day when you can use some Yiddish!
    – Zack
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 2:04

Bob is a model citizen.

A "Model Citizen" is someone who obeys the law, is good to their community(s) and sets a good example for other citizens. not only citizens of a city or country.

Generally speaking, it is the role model of a group that conforms perfectly to the virtues and demands that any given society holds.

Robert Adams, Quora, Aug 15, 2015


Pillar of the Community

One who is a particularly active, respected, and influential member of one's local social sphere.

The Free Dictionary by Farlex

or Stand Up Guy

An honest and straightforward man of good character


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    Hi Vectorizer. Note, an answer on EL&U is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. Please edit your answer to provide more information - e.g., add a published definition of each expression (linked to the source) and say why it suits the context. You could even add an etymology, some published examples or a Google Ngram! For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour. :-) Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 0:15
  • Like the judge who held racist views, or the police officer who broke the law, or the clergy or teacher abusing children, ad infinitum, all of whom could have been "Pillars of the Community" at one time? Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 12:48

I get a feeling you're looking for an expression inline with civic duty.

  • The OP was after a word or phrase to describe a person. Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 12:21

There is also the expression social hero:

Social heroes differ from both martial and civil heroes in that their heroic acts do not necessarily involve an emergency situation. By sacrificing their time, finances and possible social status, social heroes work tirelessly to serve and foster their community and its values. Examples of social heroes includes volunteers, activists and whistleblowers. These individuals act with courage and kindness to promote an ideal, improve quality of life for others or to aid those who are struggling in their community. These types of heroes often perform their heroism regularly without asking for recognition or thanks, but their contributions are outstanding nonetheless. (source)

The phrase is used by official studies but is also quite popular on social media.


How about "Bob is a progressive"? Or "a progressive thinker"? It would cover a lot of bases from the socially responsible to the environmentally friendly.


Bob is really straight-laced.

Bob is a stand-up kind of guy.

Bob is involved in the community. (Perhaps he's even a pillar of the community.)

Bob is civic-minded.

Bob is always there for everyone.

It depends of the kind of community, its values, and the sort of role Bob plays in it.


It seems that you're looking for something that gives the opposite sense of superficial:

apparent rather than real; insubstantial or insignificant

Words that spring to mind are authentic, legitimate, and consistent.

If you want to use a more colloquial term, here are a couple:

the real deal: something or someone that is real or genuine : a thing or person that is not a copy or imitation

the genuine article: the real thing


I think a philanthropist, one who practices practices philanthropy fits the description quite well.

Philanthropy: altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.

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