A long-retired friend called last week. Always a giver. He’s raising funds for a special second chance center. Not just a facility that offers a bunk bed or mattress, a meal, shower, and goodbye - come back if you need to. He described the new residence as warm, with long-term living space, counselors, education, dignity, and opportunity. My friend is a philanthropist of the highest order. He uses his most finite treasure, his time, to offer others a way to become philanthropists.
When you hear philanthropist, most likely Warren Buffet, Mackenzie Scott, and Michael Jordan come to mind. Of course. They’ve shared fortunes to save lives and change industries. Their names and deeds will become part of history.
And yet, these giants of giving say when one has the means, as they do, writing a check is the easy way to help. In their minds the real philanthropists are the ones who give their time at homeless shelters, tutor at risk students, deliver meals on wheels, work for social justice. The ones who pour sweat equity and whatever dollars they can afford, into helping people and places. I agree with them. When I hear philanthropist, I think of my friends and neighbors.
Do you empty your pockets for the Salvation Army kettle? Write notes for Hospice? Make sandwiches for the homeless shelter? Do you give whatever you can – time, talent, or treasure - to those in need? You, my friend, are a philanthropist. Without you, the world would be a much grimmer place.
November is Philanthropy month. You’ll receive lots of opportunities. Something to think about: When considering whether to give your time or treasure, remember the great philosopher Charlie Brown. In one of my favorite cartoons Lucy is shaking her finger and saying ‘Sooner or later Charlie Brown you are going to realize – you reap what you sow, you get out of life exactly what you put into it. No more and no less. And Charlie Brown responds a little wistfully ... “Gee I’d kind of like to see a little more margin for error.”
Sorry Charlie Brown – this time, Lucy is right.
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