The Philanthropic Choice

I feel like giving a warning that this blog post will be somewhat off the wall. It’s the Christmas season and one of the things society seems to do is acknowledge and provide services for people they’ve ignored all year. We buy presents and volunteer our time to help the needy. Part of my job is working with kids who have come from abusive situations with different challenges and providing a variety of social work related services to them. In addition to the work done by staff, there are community members and volunteers who have stepped up to do great things for the kids. They’ve sacrificed their time and their resources to do something extra special for kids who may not have ever had someone care about them. And while some of these contributions come during the holiday season, others come throughout the year. Yesterday I had the chance to witness a community contribution to the kids. There was a group of local businessmen who wanted to do something special and buy gifts for all the kiddos. I’m going to take a quick break from the story to share an observation/insight. I don’t know if it’s the media or society in general, but we are really conditioned to associate masculinity with ginormous American-built trucks. A man who drives a Ford F-250 with an extended bed and a lift kit is miles ahead of the man saving the environment in a Toyota Prius. At least in certain regions of the country. Needless to say, the trucks they drove were of the aforementioned category. It would be unfair to the integrity of the story not to mention the fact that these businessmen appeared to be in their late 20’s early 30’s and were also very very extremely attractive (you get the point). But I digress. The trucks were filled with presents for the kids and every single kid got one. Many times in these situations the toys come as a result of a toy drive and aren’t necessarily specific to what the kid wanted. There’s also usually a price limit that while reasonable doesn’t always meet the wants of the kids. However these kids had all submitted a wish list and these guys had gone out and bought what the kids asked for. They were not cheap gifts. Jordan’s, huge toy sets, electronics, and $100 gift cards were among the gifts given to the kids. It was wonderful to see the kids faces light up with joy as they got what they had asked for. It was just as fun for the guys giving out the gifts. I’m reminded of the reasons why philanthropy is so important. Giving of yourself is great, but you can also have a significant impact when you have the monetary means to help as well. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I could give to a particular cause or wish that I’ve had more to give to a particular cause. That being said, I want to have the means to not only set up my kids to be in a great financial position but also to make a sustainable difference in the lives of others. Getting a building named after you is good, but we can’t forget the importance of investing in people. That wasn’t off the wall at all.

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