Once upon a time, big philanthropy worked like this: After decades of building a great fortune (because it used to take decades), a titan of industry would create a major foundation late in life and, not long after, would pass from the scene.
Decorating the tree and shopping just seem so much more joyful when you are doing it with someone by your side. Well, I would like to share a Christmas story with you that just might warm your heart and help you see this season through different eyes.
This year, have you thought about a charitable donation? Not throwing money out into the void, hoping that some good will come of it, but giving to one of the charities that are taking the new "hand-up, not handout" approach to helping.
With giving already such an abstract concept, shifting it to something that happens behind the scenes -- or at least away from the community gathering -- means we 'lose a tangible teaching moment in how we form identity.'
Independence Day is not just a great time to be with family and friends watching fireworks and enjoying the perfect barbeque. It is also a time to reflect on the many gifts we, as Americans, have been given every day, as a community and as a country.
When you give you receive not because it "gets" you anything but because giving of yourself is what we were all meant to do. It is the internal reward of doing something right and good, and the moment you begin to calculate what it will yield the purity of the gesture is lost.
It is our intent to give and awareness of our acts, more than the amount of our personal philanthropy, that will bring about a brighter future for us in terms of our personal outlooks on life, and for our planet as a whole.
You've heard the familiar adage that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to support the work of the many terrific nonprofits that serve our most vulnerable neighbors. A gift of any size is worth giving.
Although the majority of us mean well when we attempt to help those in need, at times we go about it in a way that can be insensitive or even rude. Regardless of someone's unfortunate circumstances, no one receiving help wants to be viewed or treated as a poor, helpless soul.
Last cold Christmas morning I took a traditional dogwalk through S.F.'s fabled Haight-Ashbury. It was pretty much empty of people on the streets. But left behind were a fair number of unfortunate souls lying in doorways.