Monday, September 19, 2011
If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, Perhaps Philanthropy Can!
Aristotle calls it Eudemonia – wellbeing of the soul; Buddhism refers to it a Nirvana – spiritual enlightenment. As the song laments, “Money makes the world go round,” but what about our happiness, wellbeing and enlightenment?
It seems the current economy reflects the fact that conspicuous consumption is fading into the sunset as more and more men and women search the horizon for the vibrant hue of conspicuous compassion in their life and work. Could it be that we are on the cusp of a transformative moment in history? And if so, can philanthropy take a leading role in setting a new ethical and moral agenda by putting money to work to bring happiness to the giver and the receiver?
As I travel around the country giving keynote speeches, I meet more and more women in my “Three Principles of Abundance” workshops that are articulate and passionate in their belief that we are entering a psychological turning point in our country. Women tell me they feel empowered as philanthropists to create for themselves and their community an environment where innovative thinking and decision making flows more openly and freely.
In Nebraska this summer, a woman proudly said to me, “I am blessed to wear my heart on my sleeve, and I encourage all my friends to do the same. We can change the world before it’s too late.”
I sense a growing urgency that more women look to be involved in philanthropy as a way to foster caring relationships and communities in more sustainable ways than by voting. The nonprofit or social sector, as it is called by some, is congruent with boomer women’s goals of bringing virtue back into vogue, and using the philanthropic platform to reshape the ethical and morals for the next generation.
In other words, this is the right generation of women, advancing in the appropriate sector, at the optimal time in history, to find happiness in philanthropy. Women’s money, time, and talent is transforming communities, one thought and one deed at a time. Women’s transformative leadership for the greater good is reaching critical mass through philanthropic endeavors and bringing more happiness than money can buy.
To learn more about women and philanthropy, read "Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation." Find Margaret May on Facebook, Twitter @MM_Philanthropy, or visit www.margaret-may.com.