My church creates packets of transportable food and water for folks with the signs on the side of the road. They encourage us to take them and give them out when we are at a light. I had a packet in my front seat, was at a light and a gentleman was on the median. I motioned to him and he came across a lane to accept the packet. The woman in the car next to the median pulled up next to me and was so impressed, she rolled down her window and told me how great that was. I really didn’t do much: my church gathered the items, put them in a package and gave them to us to distribute. I felt uncomfortable with the accolades, but I am hopeful it was impactful to the other driver and might influence her behavior in the future. I also think the packet provided some nutrition and respect for the gentleman accepting it. I felt good that day. I hope I impacted a life or two in a positive way.
Philanthropy can be broadly defined as love for humankind. It is derived from the Greek works “philos” which means loving and “anthropos” which means humankind. Altrusim is selfless concern for the well-being of others.
When we give to others, it lifts us up. When we give to others with no expectation of anything in return, it is self-actualizing. I didn’t come from a philanthropic family. My family didn’t have a lot of means and they were skeptical in response to requests for charitable giving. Some of that was due to coming from a place of scarcity. I also think the hesitation to give, probably kept things small, because they were so focused on keeping what they had, they didn’t open themselves to accepting what else was out there.
I learned philanthropy as an adult, being surrounded by leaders who set the example. I saw how things did not happen in our community unless someone contributed money, time and/or resources to a project or initiative. I wanted to make an impact like that. I wanted to be one of those people. We don’t realize how we impact others by our actions. Those leaders set in motion a habit that I role model for my children, expect from my spouse and encourage in my clients.
You don’t have to give all your money away, but give some and you might see how you feel. I had a client just recently say, “who knew how transformational it is to give away money!”
Peace comes in lots of ways. I encourage you to try it through philanthropy.