Transformation Through Virtous Philanthropy

Mission: To inspire generations to abundantly fulfill their wealth legacy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Only if we help shall all be saved

“Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved.” -- Dr. Jane Goodall

Stephen G. Post and Margaret May
In Chicago last month, at the Advisors in Philanthropy Conference (AiP), I met and talked with Stephen G. Post, author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping. Post is professor of preventive medicine and director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. He is also president of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love.

I wanted to meet Post to find out more about the institute and to seek out collaboration of my hypothesis that “eudaimonia” (the ancient Greek word for “well-being”) is the ultimate goal of women philanthropists who seek to practice “self-interest rightly understood” as defined by Alexis deTocqueville in his historic treatise “Democracy in America” (1835). The case being that the true meaning of philanthropy (again from the Greeks) is the “love of humankind.” And the premise being that when women let their values validate their valuables, they express those values through self-interest, not only for themselves and their families, but also for the greater good of the community. And in the process of carrying out the philanthropic deeds resulting from self-interest rightly understood, a more caring and compassionate community evolves at a time when our nation has lost its moral compass.

Listening to Dr. Post speak on his research added another dimension to the benefits of “self-interest rightly understood.” For according to Dr. Post, “when we show concern for others by acts such as volunteering, we improve our own health and well-being and embrace and give voice to our deeper identity and dignity as human beings.”

Could it be that every woman and every man can make a difference for a more harmonious and virtuous world, and in doing so not only experience “eudaimonia” but also help the world survive and thrive?

“Only if we help shall all be saved.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cultural Arts: Silence is Not Golden

In the 21st century, silence is not golden when it comes to the cultural arts heritage of America.

One could say, “Silence is death,” to the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony and The New York Opera, if what I read is correct in the April 29 edition of the Wall Street Journal. I picked up a copy while traveling this week between speaking in Chicago at the Advisors in Philanthropy (AiP) conference, and attending the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP) board meeting.

If this trend of silent concert halls and dark theater stages continues, we all would be wise to look in our communities to learn of the health and wealth of our beloved cultural organizations. And not only our cultural organizations, but the pulse of the community at large. For culture is the mirror of society and community. Culture is a benchmark for who we are and what we believe. As far back as the Roman Empire it has been documented, “As goes culture and arts, so goes the nation.”

Is this the decade we bottom out and turn the corner to an upward spiral of society’s ethical and moral values? Or will we remain in the valley of discontent? Yes, we live in the fourth season of this history cycle – passing through spring, summer and fall to our winter of discontent. Yes, the sun is setting, but a new Phoenix is rising and a new spirit in America is waiting in the wings.

Philanthropy can lead the way, but only with the collaboration of the non-profit and for-profit sectors acting with one voice for the greater good. Think abundance and it shall appear.