In researching for “Women, Wealth & Giving” with my co-author, Niki Nicastro McCuistion, we have found that women, who knowingly choose the path to make a difference in their own unique style through their giving of time, talent and treasure, consistently identify five character traits that guide them on the way to their authentic social and personal legacy.

In the next five weeks, I’ll explain these character traits right here in this blog.

Practicing Inconspicuous Consumption

Each day they tell others – by their actions, spoken or not – what their priorities are. Their lifestyles reflect the values they believe are important to support with their resources. Many have found that collaborating with others through inconspicuous consumption and working to meet community needs has brought profound harmony to their life and has elevated their wealth of self.

Abused and neglected children had virtually nowhere to go in Martin County, Fla. 20 years ago. But in 1985, LaVaughn Tilton-Drysdale, using the principles of collaboration and inconspicuous consumption with the help of a few caring people who know a few more caring people, changed all that.

The idea originally came to Tilton-Drysdale while she was watching a training video in order to work with parents suspected of child abuse and neglect. “Immediately my interest turned to the children,” she said. “What happens to one of these children if their home is unsafe for living?”

She managed to rally the community to the idea, raising money and in-kind donations from builders and landowners. In 1989, Hibiscus House, a safe place to send children removed from their homes, opened its doors. Today it has expanded to a multimillion dollar 36-bed facility.

When asked about her leadership role, Tilton-Drysdale says, “I may have made the decision that something needed to be done, but I didn’t do it alone, the community did it.”

For more, read “Women, Wealth & Giving: The Virtous Legacy of the Boom Generation” by Margaret May Damen and Niki Nicastro McCuistion.