philanthropy: the love of humanity.
I’ve spent nearly seven years learning and understanding the word “philanthropy.” For four years of undergrad, I benefited from generosity of someone who gave out of love. Now, I work to provide opportunities for others to give to the university out of love, as well. Recently I’ve been fundraising for Barefoot Republic as I train for the half marathon (I’m almost at my goal — feel free to give by visiting www.runbarefootnow.com and designate it for runner #11!! More on this another day). I’ve asked every friend I can think of to give towards this cause, and I’ve noticed a few interesting patterns.
I’m young. My friends are young. We’re paying student loans, and rent, and bills, and not making much money yet. We have a million excuses. But philanthropy is not about a dollar amount. When your university asks for a gift, you can give $10 towards scholarships or your student org or something else that meant something. When I ask for money for Barefoot Republic, I’ve had friends give $100 and I’ve had friends give $5, and I am humbly grateful for every single gift.
Philanthropy is not about a dollar amount. It’s about a habit of giving. Yesterday, I listened to a sermon about giving. We’ve all heard “it is better to give than to receive.” As he so simply put it yesterday — would you rather be in a position to give or in a position of needing to receive? I would much prefer to be in a position of giving. And I am so grateful that I am able to give $10 here, and $10 there. How blessed I am to have that opportunity.
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
–2 Corinthians 9:7
The first time you give, it’s hard. It hurts a little. You think about how many meals you could have bought with that. Or you think about how much it would multiply if you stuck it in your savings or 401K. Yet as you continue to give over time, it becomes a habit, a comfort — a blessing.
Yes, we are young. We are “poor” (but are we though? really??). But all of us will advocate for causes throughout our lives. I’ve seen that the world of philanthropy is a lot of “I’ll support your cause, you’ll support mine,” and I think that is so special — that we can recognize what a cause means to our friend, and empathize, and pitch in.
All this to say, philanthropy is so much more than being guilted into giving to this or that. It’s about loving in a small way, where you can. It’s a field I’m honored to be a part of.