The release of my book, A Generous Heart, is slated for a late summer/early fall release. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll be one of the first to know when it’s out …
While you wait, here’s a sneak peek from the intro. Enjoy!
A generous heart is a muscle that can be strengthened, and giving as much as possible is personal and unique to each person at different stages in life. It opens the conversation to anyone who is ready and willing to make a difference. A philanthropist today is someone who is:
- informed about their passions, the needs of their community, and the resources they have to make a difference,
- intentional about how they spend their resources, and
- joyful in giving and receiving.
As I began to construct a template for simplified philanthropy for compassionate people, I saw a desire to design a life better suited to support the needs of a whole community while being satisfied with having enough. I was intrigued by the concepts of minimalist living and right design and small living spaces. I was inspired by the ability of people the world over to live with hope, creativity and kindness during unimaginable tragedy. I was energized by stories of generosity and the explosion of new ways of giving through social media. I wrote this book out of a desire to engage with the idea of living in service to the greater whole. I was interested in exploring how to be strategic with my own giving so that I could feel confident I was staying aligned with my values. True philanthropy is about social justice, design thinking and storytelling. It concerns itself with relationship and engagement and ensuring a life well lived. This is true for the giver as well as the receiver. Philanthropy allows us to share what matters and why. It gives us a sense that the world, and our individual communities, can be better. Real philanthropy highlights how deeply we are all connected, to each other and the planet.
There is something new bubbling up through all of this. Whether creating sites that allow users to share and grow their financial support to specific issues or nonprofits, or using socially responsible investing to influence major corporations and governments, many people are working to connect the dots. We are witnessing a paradigm shift in the way we perceive the impact of our resources and how we view what our resources are. What most excites me is that this is an opportunity for each one of us to adjust our expectations of what we need in life and contribute something meaningful to our communities. This shift is providing us the prompt to develop a personal philanthropic plan that states what we care about in order to take action and live our legacies while we’re still alive. We witness the possibility of our collective impact when we align toward shared goals.
And this type of giving is uniquely feminist in nature. As Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres, a women’s organization in Nicaragua, states: “Feminist philanthropy is not a charitable act or an act of power. It is an act of solidarity and mutual empowerment.” In this philanthropy, your giving is a conscious political act. According to Charlotte Wagner, Principal of the Wagner Foundation and Catherine Gill, Executive Vice President at Root Capital, “feminist philanthropy is about three things: collaboration, lack of ego, and intersectionality.” Seeking creative, holistic solutions with courage and humility is the underlying ideology of the feminist movement as it seeks to create equality between the sexes and dismantle the patriarchy. The future of philanthropy hinges on equality across the political, economic, personal and social spectrum, and using the lens of feminism can provide individuals with the tools they need to be more effective and innovative in their giving.