This year is the bicentennial celebration of Margaret Fuller’s birth, an extraordinary woman, (1810-1950) with a global vision of equality and human rights; a guiding light for a generation of women eager to make a difference and leave a legacy. Among her many accomplishments, she was the first woman journalist on Horace Greeley’s New York Daily Tribune and the first editor of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Transcendentalist journal, The Dial.
In the side pocket of my purse I carry a rather tattered slip of paper on which several years ago, I wrote one of her sayings, “The especial genius of women, I believe to be electrical in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in nature.” Every so often, when a flash of impatience enters my mind as to the progress we as a generation of idealist women are making to create a more civil and just world through our pragmatic and progressive philanthropy, I unfold that tattered, well-worn piece of paper and re-energize my soul by reading her words and reflecting on her stoic and visionary character to press on to make a difference for the greater good.
Making and difference and leaving a legacy are two of the ‘Three Principles of Abundance’ that I spoke about on my July 29th National Association of Baby Boomer Women Teleseminar. The third principle is being a philanthropist. In my work and research for my book “Women Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation,” I’ve learned that what each of us is doing in our daily lives in how we connect our passion and values to the issues we see as important to a more civil and just society in our community is “electric in movement.”
We energize and facilitate quality education, green-wise living, food and shelter for the less fortunate through our purposeful commitment of time, talent and treasure, using our unique leadership and sharing our abundance with others. We use our gender and functional “intuitive” specific qualities to connect and communicate by sharing stories. It may be of how we got sunburn volunteering for a clean up day at the beach, reconnected to a neighbor while registering voters for primary elections, or took a few extra few minutes to listen to a friends lament over the dynamics of finding quality home care for her aging parents.
We practice “spiritual tendencies” through all our philanthropic endeavors, reminded that the true meaning of philanthropy is the love of humankind. For it is not how much we have but how much we share that sustains and nurtures abundance into our lives.
Considering the current economic, social, and political state of our nation, there is urgency for women to build more discerning philanthropic partnerships that creatively express our “especial genius.” One significant way to accomplish this is to be proactive in directing our values and valuables; intangible and tangible assets that are the tools to live the Three Principles of Abundance – Every woman is a philanthropist; Every woman makes a difference; Every woman has a legacy. As we live the words of Margaret Fuller, we become torchbearers for a Virtuous Philanthropy that has the power to transforms society and ourselves.