why we give.


An old Chinese proverb concludes with the phrase, "If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: happiness is found in helping others.

For it is in giving that we receive — Saint Francis of Assisi

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity — Leo Tolstoy

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give — Winston Churchill

And so we learn early: It is better to give than to receive. The venerable aphorism is drummed into our heads from our first slice of a shared birthday cake. But is there a deeper truth behind the truism?

"...giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex."

The resounding answer is yes. Scientific research provides compelling data to support the evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. Through fMRI technology, we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex.

Giving reinforces kindness. Generosity not only makes givers feel good, but reduces their stress level and even extends their lives.(Jenny Santi for time.com)

Read the full story here...


Grab a pen and a sheet of paper. This year, your giving is going to be driven by thought, not guilt or last minute acquiescence.

Get organized: (above, from Rose & Fitzgerald, a husband and wife duo determined to make positive change in Kenya through work with local artists and craftsmen, this ankole horn tray is perfect as a desk organizer, a catchall for keys and loose coins


Requests for donations are everywhere. Making a plan for your giving (whether just centered on the holidays, or for the full year) can help you put your heart and head in the same place. Determine where your passions lie: Arts & Humanities? Nature & Preservation? Food Insecurity? Animal Welfare? 

Set Your Budget

Like all financial plans, your Giving Plan begins with your budget. If you have $100 to donate, decide if those dollars are best applied to a single organization, or divided among your favorite four charities. No matter the amount, all non-profits gain from the number of donations they take in nearly as much as the dollar amount of donations, since most larger grants hinge on community support. Your total giving, even if it feels small to you, is going to matter to them.

Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it's pleasurable. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.

Put you plan on paper: this iPad cover in crocodile and leather is a smart start to any plan.

Support Local

Just as with small local businesses, your support of local charities means everything to the people devoted to them. Giving locally keeps dollars within the community and has a ripple effect across the local economy. In this sense, by keeping your donations local, you'll be make a bigger impact.

Give Your Time

Don't have the budget to make cash donations this year? Your time is just as valuable. Contact your favorite charities to find how you can get involved. Know how much of your time you can give, and when (week nights, weekends, Sundays only, etc.) then communicate this to the coordinators. They'll know how to make the most of your generosity and they'll be deeply grateful. Time is (still) money!

Gifts that tell your story, like "The Natural Home", by Hans Blomquist with a donation announcement in your loved one's name pinned to the cover, is both personalized and thoughtful.


"Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world."

–Desmond Tutu





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