In the USA, we recently celebrated the national holiday of Thanksgiving. In the spirit of the occasion, I want to express my gratitude to some of those who inspire me.
To begin, I thank you for visiting my blog site and reading my posts. If not for you, and thousands just like you around the world, I would be just a crazy guy talking to himself. Thank you for inspiring me to write, and for honoring me by reading my articles. If you’ve ever commented on a post, I also thank you for that; if you haven’t, I encourage you to feel free to do so in the future.
I also want to thank you for everything you do to help make the world a better place. Working in, with or for the nonprofit sector is noble work. You should take pride in that.
I also want to share my appreciation for the diverse philanthropic community around the globe that supplies the passion, ideas, volunteer resources, and funding that make the work of the nonprofit sector possible. Philanthropists come in all shapes and sizes. Their interests and abilities vary. The one thing they mostly have in common is heart.
Consider these two very different examples of recent philanthropy:
Typhoon Yolanda recently struck Asia. The storm ravaged the Philippines first and hardest. The death toll is still unclear, and hundreds of thousands have been made homeless. In Japan, six-year-old Shoichi Kondoh saw the news coverage of Typhoon Yolanda on television. The images moved him. So, this little philanthropist emptied his piggybank of his childhood savings, and asked his mother to take him to the Embassy of the Philippines. In an Embassy conference room, with his proud mother by his side, Kondoh formally handed Consul Bryan Dexter Lao an envelope containing JPY 5,000 (approximately $50 USD).
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, people who knew Jack MacDonald knew him as a frugal man. He had holes in his clothes, took buses instead of taxis, and lived modestly.
Recently, MacDonald, 98, stunned Seattle’s nonprofit community when he died leaving a charitable trust worth approximately $188 million. The Seattle Children’s Research Institute is the largest beneficiary of the trust; the Institute believes this to be the largest individual donation ever to pediatric research in the US.
Seemingly, MacDonald and Kondoh could not be more different. Yet, they have something profound in common: They both love humankind, the very definition of philanthropy. They both were motivated by a desire to help others have a better life.
These philanthropists were not looking for a free coffee mug, a listing in a donor honor roll, or publicity. They were motivated by what was in their hearts.
I’m grateful to Kondoh and MacDonald because of the good their money will do as well as the inspiration they have provided to others around the world.
I’m also grateful that these two very different philanthropists have reminded us of something very important.
As fundraising professionals, we often focus on the how-to of our business. We work to enhance our skills, look at performance numbers, strive to hit goals, study how to achieve more for our organizations. It’s easy for us to lose sight of what we truly are. We are not professional beggars. Instead, we are philanthropy facilitators. Yes, the other things I’ve just mentioned are important. However, what is most important to remember is that our job is to show people how they can do their part to make the world a better place and help them to realize their philanthropic aspirations.
At this holiday season, I’m thankful for many things. I’ve just shared a few. What are you thankful for?
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That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?