Being A Philanthropist

Lisa Towes-Daugherty |

Written by: Lisa Toews-Daugherty


Are you thinking that philanthropy isn’t for you? That it’s a self-righteous thing that the rich and powerful do to make themselves look good or avoid taxes? That’s it’s another word for fund-raising? I confess to thinking that way too for a long time. But no more.

I recently read the book “Soul of Money” by Lynne Twist and it totally changed how I see philanthropy. Philanthropy is a misused and misunderstood word. At its core, philanthropy means love of humankind. My husband and I give to charities, both in terms of financial resources and time, in ways that are significant to us. We do that out of Biblical love.  By that definition, we are philanthropists.

Many financial plans cover cash flow, investing, tax management, risk management, and estate planning.   But I think often a key element to a life well-lived is missing – Philanthropy.  Philanthropy is not about reducing taxes or good estate planning.  It’s about using your resources to support what it is you truly value.  As our incomes increase, we often raise our standard of living, but as writer and pastor Adam Hamilton puts it, we should be raising our standard of giving.  If we realize that our lives are rich and meaningful at our current salaries, why not be content with that and allocate raises and bonuses to philanthropy?

The act of philanthropy makes us feel good.  It doesn’t matter whether we give $100 or $100,000, one of our two blankets, a can of extra food, an hour sorting donations or helping at a shelter.  In each act, large or small, we are recognizing that we have more than we need at that moment and we can let that extra flow and be a blessing to someone who needs it.  That’s not a tax strategy.  That’s recognizing our place in this world.