More Than Money
Issue #12

Creative Giving

Table of Contents

“And One for Good Measure”

Here are three of my experiments in giving:

* Three years ago, a very charitable (but not wealthy) friend confided that he wished he had more money to give away. I thought to myself, 'the Lord has blessed me with so much to give, it would be wonderful to share some of the pleasure of giving.' Since then I have given $3000/year to him to give away. All he does is tell me how to make out the check and adds his signature to the checks. I'm not giving the money to him personally so he is not beholden to me. He gets a thrill out of it, and so do I.

* For years much of my giving has been to well-meaning whites who want to help minorities. This year, with my wife's support, I sent a letter to most of the 30 organizations I had been giving to and told them I was giving all the money instead to a two- year research project run by an African American and a Latino to develop a inner city youth training enterprise. It felt like a risk to invest so much in one project, but something I had to do. It hasn't been easy knowing how to relate to this venture in which I had put so much at stake. I started off proposing to offer my input to the staff of this budding organization via a monthly report and weekly meetings. The staff experienced this as controlling and asked me to back off. I did. They appointed a Board member to give me reports, and we're still figuring out an appropriate relationship.

* I sometimes give more than I'm asked for. If an organization's membership is $25 I may round up to $30. I'll pay on a "sliding scale" even when one is not suggested. If a course costs $50 I may give $90. I try to go the second mile to help provide a scholarship. Giving more than what I am asked for surprises people, even when the sums are modest, and it is fun for me to do. When my therapist said to me, 'Why don't you have fun with your money?" she was primarily thinking of spending. But why not apply it to giving, too?

- anonymous author


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