BIG Philanthropy

What will be philanthropy’s “new story?”

Scarcity vs. Abundance May 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjcallen @ 11:30 pm

When I was a child I received a lesson in abundance that has lasted a lifetime. We were poor and so from my limited view everything was scarce. Then I recall a night when a woman came by with her three kids asking for help. My mother took half of the milk we had in the fridge and gave it to her. This struck me – I guess there is enough after all! This was my first lesson in the power of viewing the world through a lens of abundance. This was a lesson that I learned over and over again from my mom the philanthropist.  To this day I still feel that what we need is already here and I so I neither fret or fear that  there not being enough to go around nor do I hoard.

This spring we are all being schooled in the power of abundance as U.S. donors give to relief efforts in Myanmar and China while still supporting the domestic groups that rely on their generosity. And they may not yet realize it but they can do more – if only they would put on that lens of abundance. Almost every study on charitable giving or generosity notes the counterintuitive finding that low-income people give away a higher percentage of what they have compared to their wealthier counterparts. Perhaps some of these good people who give at relatively low levels compared to their wealth are suffering from the effects of early lessons focused on scarcity and thus, their fear is understandable – it is also something they can be overcome. We can connect to inspiring stories of people who have decided to think bigger about their giving potential through the work of Bolder Giving and the 50% League



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