Monday, January 18, 2010

Philanthropy: The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind

Philanthropy: The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, as by charitable aid or donations. The word is made up from Latin and Greek words and quite simply means loving mankind.

I read a blog recently that got me thinking. The blog was titled Simplify Your Finances. It was a repost from Bryan Link who is the CEO of SimpliFi and he lists five suggestions that people can do to simplify their finances. The Power of Slow has become one of my favorite blogs to read, but the suggestion that got me thinking was #5, “Increase your giving to a charity that helps those less fortunate–and find a way to volunteer there as well. Both of these actions will increase your happiness and make you feel more grateful for the blessings you have in your life.”

I could have never guessed that in the days following my reading of this blog, we all would become painfully aware of how much our giving impacts another person. That the needs for a group of people would be so great. Although the giving efforts to help ease the devastation in Haiti have been astounding we continue to hear that people do not have basic needs being met. How horrible to be dealing with death, loss and destruction and not have water, food or clothing.

I grew up going to a church that had a very strong emphasis on missions and ran giving campaigns to raise funds and awareness. I learned that it didn’t matter the size of the gift but that your giving to help another was what was important. We brought our Alabaster boxes to church after months of filing it with our coins, walked up to the front and emptied in the cardboard church representing the churches that would be built in part because I chose to give my money away rather than buy candy or a toy.

As Aristotle said “To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man power nor an easy matter.”

In this new year I have determined to become more aware of different charities and the needs they help to alleviate. In order to realize this I decided to take an amount of money that I normally spend on me, whether it is to buy a coffee, eating in a restaurant, going to a movie or getting a massage and each month take this money and give it to a different charity.

January is already spoken for. Haiti holds a special place in my heart and life. The kids and I sponsor a boy Drew’s age who lives in Haiti through World Vision. We purposely chose someone in Haiti. The summer after graduating from high school my church youth group under the leadership of Jim and Betty Cooper, took a trip to Haiti. We learned songs in Creole so we could participate in the native tongue during church services. We painted a church in bright turquoise blue and flamingo pink, bright colors that these beautiful people love. The children would come around to watch what we were doing. Our interaction with them changed my life. Evan after all these years I feel a connection with the people of this island.

I recently came across another blog called Dollar Philanthropy. The challenge is to encourage people to give a dollar a week to a reputable charitable organization. Michael Bloomberg, NYC mayor and major philanthropist said “Every dollar makes a difference. And that's true whether it's Warren Buffett's remarkable $31 billion pledge to the Gates Foundation, or my late father's $25 check to the NAACP.”

Here's the fun part, I am calling on my friends and readers of conversations from a sticky note, to suggest a cause or favorite charity that I could consider making a donation to. I look forward to hearing from you and learning about the causes that are important to you.

1 comment:

  1. Compassion and Invisible Children are two charities I feel closely tied to. They use a small percentage for administrative and the rest goes directly to help children. Compassion is currently collecting money for Haiti and Invisible Children works with children in Uganda and the Sudan region.

    Thanks for the blog. Right before I read it, Mark and I were discussing how much we should pull together to give to Haiti... I guess great minds work alike, right?