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?

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