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Giving Away Money

There’s a good organization with a crappy name. Feed My Starving Children. It used to be O.K. for charities to promote victims. We’d see pictures of emaciated Africans with outstretched hands, begging for us to save them. Attitudes changed and wise consultants advised non-profits to change their image. Fewer folks respond to hopelessness these days.

Last year, Americans gave away $303.75 billion in charitable contributions. $17.8 billion  of U.S. tax dollars went to poverty focused development assistance. Foreign workers in the United States sent $300 billion in remittances to their families abroad. That’s a lot of money flowing out of the country. Some would say it’s not doing much good. Some would say charity begins at home.

Define home for me. Is it my house, my community, my country, my planet? Peter Beinhardt who wrote the book: The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again quipped, to define a liberal you need only ask one question … Do you believe in a global world? If the answer is yes—congratulations, you’re a liberal! Doesn’t matter if you’re a card-carrying Republican or you support a conservative political agenda. If you agree that we live in a global world, you affirm the inter-connectivity of all humanity. So, how to respond to the pressing problems of the global community?

There are people whose response comes from their religious identity. Jews who only give to Jewish causes. Christians who give as a vehicle to spread the gospel. And Muslims whose giving exclusively goes to Islamic organizations. There are some who donate their wealth to a foundation that takes a business-like approach to effective philanthropy, think Warren Buffet and The Gates Foundation. And many make giving decisions based on an experience that touched them personally. Cancer, gun violence, or suicide.

Whatever the motivation, we live in a world of givers. Global citizens who respond to “hopeless causes” by sending spiritual support, volunteering time, and giving money to better the world. They don’t let overwhelming odds stop them. They don’t begrudge others so they can have more for themselves. And, they don’t get turned-off by reminders that our brothers and sisters are facing huge challenges in their everyday struggle to get by.

Hope you find meaning in this prayer from

Soul of Philanthropy

You have placed within me, my soul.
It gives form to my thoughts creating
my innermost feelings
and driving my actions.
I am possessed with goodness
and remarkable power.
Committed to: doing deeds
of loving kindness,
speaking out for justice,
sharing my money with those in need.
I am one of this magnificent movement
to repair the world.

-Rachel Lee