Philanthropy Monday

The word philanthropy has its roots in the Greek language meaning “love for mankind.” It was never meant to apply to donors of thousands or millions of dollars. ~ Arthur C. Frantzreb

Inside every woman is a potential major philanthropist waiting to emerge. ~ Joan M. Fisher

Consider this statement fromTim Ferris, author of a book called The Four Hour Work Week:

“Changing the world doesn’t require much money. Again, think in terms of empowerment and not charity. How much were Gandhi’s teachers paid? How much did it cost to give Dr. Martin Luther King the books that catalyzed his mind and actions?
Just imagine that you and your friends make $40,000 per year. Imagine that you convince just 5 of them to join you in building a children’s school in Nepal dedicated to your parents (or your lifelong friendship). The total cost? 5 people x $3,000 each= $15,000. I know that most people, myself included, will put $3,000 of crap on credit cards in the next few months that could instead create a miracle… a miracle that you can visit.
You and your friends could plan the trip of a lifetime in 6-18 months to visit the completed school, teeming with dozens or hundreds of students who greet you with smiles and thank you letters. You’ll know it’s your school because your names will be on the door.”
That statement made me consider on a deeper level what is possible even if one is only able to give modestly in terms of money. I believe the same is true if all you can give is a bit of your time.

I was moved by a documentary I watched within the last couple of months called Pray the Devil Back to Hell. It is about the women in Liberia who stood up, after suffering through 15 years of a brutal war, and proclaimed that they wanted peace in their country. They wanted their children to be safe. They were no longer willing to tolerate the power struggles and positioning of the leader of their country nor of the war lords who were trying to usurp power.

Through visiting the web site for this film I learned of some very inspirational causes. I would like to briefly share with you some information about one in particular called the Strongheart Fellowship.
The Strongheart Fellowship Program is a groundbreaking healing and learning guidance program designed to help bright, resilient young people from extremely challenging circumstances around the globe develop into compassionate, innovative problem-solvers and leaders that can affect significant social change. The criteria they use to select fellows for the program are as follows:
  • Exceptional leadership aptitude – defined as the demonstration of the following traits: compassion, intelligence, drive, moral commitment, maturity, judgment, and charisma. They can be a leader in thought, action or of people.
  • A demonstrated “inner resilience” personality based on current or past reactions and adaptation to extreme circumstances.
  • Inadequate financial resources and/or access to the highest quality of education available in their country.

An inspirational fellow of this program is Loveta Conto from Liberia. She has grown incredibly from being a part of this philanthropic organization that really is about empowering those in the fellowship to be entrepreneurs and make a difference not only in their own lives, but in the lives of others as well. One of her fellowship projects led her to create a business that makes jewelry using the casings from spent bullet shells which litter the country after 15 years of war. These lovely pendants that feature the word “Life” are treasured by fans as diverse as kids from her refugee camp and humanitarians like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry.

She’s is currently working on establishing her next business – a teen magazine for African young people that will provide information on health and social issues as well as focus on African and World pop culture. She’s already created a first issue, shot the first fashion spread, and is busy recruiting writers to execute her editorial vision.

Is there a Philanthropic group or individual that has inspired you? Is there a certain cause that is dear to your heart?

Philanthropy flows from a loving heart not an overstuffed pocketbook. ~ Douglas M. Lawson

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