Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Dave Rocked Last Night

Despite what you may think about his personal shenanigans, David Letterman did a great thing last night. He hosted Bettina Luescher of the World Food Programme to talk about the devastating famine that is happening right now in the Horn of Africa, and ways that you can help out. Check out the video!

Here's a link from the Late Show web site to donate to the World Food Programme, specifically to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Calling All Aunts! (and Uncles!)

Lately, I've been reading a bunch of stuff from Melanie Notkin, the founder of Savvy Auntie, "the first community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers, and all women who love kids." Savvy Auntie has a book, web site, Facebook page, etc. with all sorts of fun resources for Aunts.

I was perusing the web site and found that it has a Good Deeds section, filled with all sorts of charitable/volunteer activities you can do with your nieces, nephews, or young friends. Everything from going to the local Humane Society to play with the animals, to making care packages for the troops, to just doing good deeds for the people in your family.

Great resource!

P.S. Check out the photo above of me and my delicious, loves-of-my-life nieces....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twenty Percent of American Children Living in Poverty

Yes, you read that correctly. 20% of children in the wealthiest and most powerful democracy in the world are living in poverty. And that statistic is based on 2009 numbers; given the state of the economy since then, there likely are more than 20% living in poverty.

This kind of makes me re-think some of my own philanthropic choices. Should I be giving to overseas disasters, or should I focus on the DISASTER of poverty that is happening in our own country? And what exactly should I give to? Poverty is a complex problem with complex causes and impacts: should I give to hunger-related organizations? Vocational training for parents, so that they can lift themselves and their children out of poverty?

Read more about these newly-released statistics HERE, or get the original data from the annual KIDS COUNT survey HERE.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What does GENEROSITY mean?

I've been doing some thinking about the idea of GENEROSITY. What does it mean?

In the context of fundraising, we often think of a generous donation as a large donation. But is generosity in the eye of the beholder? In other words, if a donation is meaningful to me (is in an amount that I can feel proud of, or an amount that is a bit of a "stretch"), does that make it generous?

The Jewish Federations of North America have a slogan that I really like: Live Generously. I don't know if it's been successful for them (if it's raised additional funds), but I think it's provocative and interesting.

What does it mean to "live generously"?

What do we mean when we talk about "generosity of spirit"?

If we donate money, but we are not sharing our other gifts with the world - our talents, our humor, our insights, our quirky world views - are we living generously?

Wikipedia - my favorite source for, well, just about everything - says the following about the word GENEROSITY:

The modern English word "generosity" derives from the Latin word generĊsus, which means "of noble birth," which itself was passed down to English through the Old French word generous. The Latin stem gener– is the declensional stem of genus, meaning "kin," "clan," "race," or "stock," with the root Indo–European meaning of gen being "to beget." The same root gives us the words genesis, gentry, gender, genital, gentile, genealogy, and genius, among others.

Brilliant! "Kin, clan, race, or stock"... and "to beget." GENEROSITY is related to a sense of interconnectedness, with being part of a clan. And GENEROSITY also is related to "beget" - creating, or birthing something. When you are generous, you are actualizing the notion of being a part of a clan, and you are creating, or begetting, something. You can feel connected AND leave your mark/legacy through generosity!

What does GENEROSITY mean to you?