It has been my life’s desire to be known at the end of my days as a “Philanthropist.” The very word conjures up the image of a very wealthy individual sitting at their massive mahogany desk or attending the latest Gala event and freely writing a check or proclaiming from a podium that they will donate thousands if not millions of dollars to a charity. The names Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates and Oprah Winfrey immediately make me think of men and women that are truly living out the mission of philanthropy. However, few of us will ever acquire the wealth that the Buffet’s, the Gate’s and Oprah have achieved. Yet the desire to know what I do acquire and freely give will do some good for the causes that are dear to me still burns in my heart. I believe we can all be philanthropists and recently I have learned it is the mundane activities and simple choices we make each day that can truly make a difference in this world. The word “philanthropy” is defined as, “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.” There is no dollar amount attached to this definition. So why can’t I be known as a philanthropist?
This month the YWCA is hosting a Young Women’s Forum Happy Hour on April 25th from 6 PM to 8 PM at the YWCA. They will explore how we can tie our careers and our day to day activities to do good for others, thus creating philanthropists in our community. Debbie Gaby, local philanthropists, will share with us how she made the choice to tie her business and her life to helping others. Each one of us can take a hard look at what we do each day and make our daily activities mirror our desire to give back and to create an impact at a local non-profit in the community.
Despite finding daily excuses, I try to do some type of exercise. Instead of me merely logging the miles, why not make it stand for something? I can log my jogging miles into the Charity Miles app and choose a charity, that a corporation such as Johnson and Johnson, will donate to on behalf of my efforts. Wow, who knew you could exercise and make a difference! Or, I can create an Everyday hero account online and tie all my fitness efforts to a certain cause I am passionate about such as working to combat Senior Hunger or working to end the gender pay gap for women. This allows me my own platform to message friends, family and colleagues to join me, by either joining the fitness efforts to create awareness or financially donating to the causes I have chosen, such as the YWCA.
One of my most dreaded activities is grocery shopping! However, knowing that the food I buy at each visit to Fry’s Foods by becoming a Fry’s Community partner will benefit a charity of my choice makes that mundane activity meaningful. Just imagine if all the people in your network tied their grocery list to a charity. What an impact that would make! I truly believe that Amazon might go down as one of the most innovative companies of our time. I am in awe when as a family we have an idea to play a game or to purchase a certain item and my son-in-law logs into Amazon and proclaims that it can be at our door in 2 hours. What a World! However, all the purchases of games, books, clothing and other fun items are helping me to advocate on behalf of women, as I have my Amazon account tied to my Amazon Smiles account where a portion of my purchases I have chosen to benefit the YWCA. So now, the YWCA receives a portion of our whimsical shopping choices, simply awesome!
As I shared earlier few of us will be able to leave a million-dollar gift to charity, but why not? Did you know that a $1,000,000 life insurance policy for a 30-year-old woman costs about $30 a month? That is the price of less than a Starbucks beverage a day. So, young people, listen up. You could donate the $360 dollars to a charity each year to pay for your policy and receive the tax write off annually for the donation. The charity would then pay for your $1,000,000 life insurance policy each year. Upon your passing a $1,000,000 gift will then be given to the charity you have designated. This is a long-term commitment, but if it is started young enough, it can be affordable and have a significant impact to a charity. Imagine your family sitting around the large mahogany desk and writing that very large check to your favorite charity and marveling at how your life not only blessed your family and friends, but created a legacy for a charitable cause and perhaps helped to cure a disease or worked to advocate for the vulnerable in our society.