I’ve always imagined a philanthropist was a wealthy person who donated lots of money to their favorite causes. Well then, that can’t be me! Sure, I donate a few dollars here and there to causes I believe in, but mostly I just volunteer.
In her introduction, LeMay says it all in a nutshell:
“You’ll notice the definition [of philanthropy] is not ‘loving of humankind…by contributing $1 million.’ Philanthropy is you and me doing what we can, with what we have, where we are, to borrow President Theodore Roosevelt’s philosophy.
Philanthropy is taking action for the greater good. Philanthropy is each of us contributing our time, our talents, and our financial resources to make a difference. Chances are, you have been practicing philanthropy most of your life.
If you have ever put a donation into the church collection basket, volunteered at a food bank or nursing home, participated in a fundraising walk-a-thon or road race, or written a check to a cause that is near to your heart, then you are a philanthropist.
If your intention is to make the world a better place, and you have given your time, opened your wallet, or offered your talents without an expectation of making money or getting a return, then you are a practicing philanthropist.
The only difference between you and me and Bill Gates: his checks have more zeroes and he has staff who help him create a plan. Don’t worry about adding more zeroes to your check; philanthropy is not about how much. Philanthropy is intention combined with focus and action.”
LeMay’s book goes on to outline ways of developing a generosity plan for yourself to implement the three T’s: sharing your time, treasure, and talent.
It was a sort of “aha” moment for me…It seems that I have been a practicing philanthropist, since I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the late 80’s! Since then, I have gone on to volunteer for organizations working on HIV/AIDS, youth development, and climate change.
** How do you currently practice philanthropy in your life? What do you enjoy about this practice? What are some barriers for you? **