Philanthropy is a matter of the heart.
It is manifested in actions that express thoughtfulness and behaviors that benefit people and increase the quality of life in our communities and society.
The friendships and relationships accruing from philanthropic engagement means much more than just money. The traditional perception that only assets define the practice and power of philanthropy is a limited way of thinking.
People of many different backgrounds and incomes regularly practice philanthropy based on their particular interests and capacity. Sometimes, this can even mean making only small monetary contributions. For example: Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on” (Mark 12:43, 44).
It takes the sacrificial commitment and involvement of volunteers and benefactors to advance philanthropy. In addition to “doing good,” often life-long, relationships are made throughout the journey of supporting an important cause.
Creating a culture of philanthropy is the act of providing a space where these experiences can take root, blossom and flourish. As a result the impact multiplies exponentially as more individuals are drawn into the work and add their unique gifts, talents and resources.
In thinking about the power of philanthropy in my life, I recognize that some of it resulted from my family upbringing. I was impacted by the examples I saw as my family contributed to church. In addition, it has been shaped significantly by my professional work in philanthropy.
Through our combined efforts—nonprofits, fundraisers, volunteers and donors—the most basic needs of people are addressed and our communities are improved.
Seeing the impact of these amazing outcomes on people and places has positively influenced me as well. The reality is, we all benefit when we share in the power of philanthropy and invite others to join us in the process.
Dave Smith, CFRE
Senior Executive Vice President