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A Thought for Friday: Philanthropy As a Way of Being

May 3, 2013

benchGiving to an entity classified as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization by the IRS is probably what comes to mind for most of us first when we think of philanthropy.

The Giving Partner has been implemented in our community to help guide those giving decisions based on in-depth information about impact, leadership, finances, needs, programs and more.

But for every gift made to a nonprofit, there are many hundreds of other acts of caring, kindness and “informal” philanthropy beyond what we can calculate by gathering data from nonprofit tax returns.

Let’s consider philanthropy not only as the act of giving or as the portfolio of your charitable gifts, but as a way of being.

Ambassador James Joseph will lead a session at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County on May 24 for board chairs and executive directors on one of his favorite subjects, “Leadership as a Way of Being.”

He said, “There is a need for leaders who are comfortable with ambiguity, who are aware of themselves and others, leaders who seek to serve before they wield power.”

What amazing translations to the world of philanthropy. We cannot always foresee the circumstances that will intersect our daily lives and map the plan for how we could make a difference. But we make the choice to be where we are needed and make that difference!

Consider your interactions with your co-workers, neighbors, friends. Making a connection, lending your ear, helping with a project…they all count.

We do not have systems in place to account for how these acts support the fabric of our communities–what Anne Mosle might call our social capital. But great things happen around us all the time because so many live in this philanthropic frame of mind.

These acts add up. They inspire others. I wish we had some way of understanding their collective impact; imagine what that Giving Challenge Leaderboard would look like! On the other hand, it’s nice to know that human kindness cannot be measured.

Wishing you a fabulous Friday and a weekend full of your own kind of philanthropy.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

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One Response to “A Thought for Friday: Philanthropy As a Way of Being”

  1. Nancy Henry Says:

    Another wonderful and insightful read! Thank you!


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