Guideposts' senior vice president for philanthropy describes a childhood experience that helped her learn the importance of giving back.
- Posted on Nov 16, 2016
I was all of five years old when I asked my dad why he always wrote a note to God and put it in the offering plate at church. Most everybody else put in money. “That’s a check,” he explained to me. “It’s just like money.” “But what’s the money for?” I asked. “To help people do God’s work,” he replied.
That was as good a lesson in giving as anyone has ever given me. I grew up in a family of givers. If someone on our block was sick or otherwise struggling, Mom got busy baking. As soon as I was old enough, I followed her lead, making brownies or muffins or spaghetti dinners.
At age 16, I organized my first fundraiser, a swim-a-thon for our local chapter of the Red Cross that entailed finding enough pools for us to use, then recruiting kids to swim 25 or 30 laps at, say, a quarter a lap from any donors they solicited. Recruiting the participants was the toughest part. I remember watching kids’ eyes glaze over at my first lackluster presentation.
What I learned to do, and hope I still do, was find out what they were interested in (swimming!) and connect it to what all those quarters could do (blood drives, CPR classes, lives saved). God’s work covers a lot of ground. Not to brag, but under my leadership the swim-a-thon’s take went up by 400 percent. That’s a lot of quarters.
Today I am the senior vice president for philanthropy at Guideposts. My husband, Kevin, would tell you I’m a do-gooder, but any good I do comes through the good a lot of people do. It’s a collaborative effort.
For instance, thanks to donations from Guideposts readers we’re able to supply inspirational literature to veterans’ hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, military bases and homeless shelters. You help us bring hope to those who need it most, and hope is a most precious commodity.
Maybe my five-year-old self had it right. A check can be a note to God. Especially when it supports the work God calls us to do.
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