After a number of years researching Women as Philanthropists, I often wondered, “how does a woman connect her values with the causes and critical issues she deems important enough to support with her time, talent and treasure?” Well, I discovered three key elements–power, purpose and passion–that converge, bringing focus and clarity to her decision-making.

Power to Solutions

The first, power, comes from choosing how to direct her energy to find the creative solutions for those critical issues. A woman finds power by allowing herself to establish goals, monitor progress, and evaluate the impact of her philanthropic agenda on both individual progress and community betterment.

Empowerment is the force that drives passion and purpose. It also offers the courage to transcend doubt in one’s ability to turn dreams into reality. Empowerment shifts the mind set from “what has been” to “what can be.” It draws on knowledge, combines it with experience, acts with strength, takes initiative, and achieves goals. Empowerment reinforces the commitment to support issues and causes that express one’s values and vision for a better world.

Purpose from the Heart

The second element is purpose that comes from the heart. It also comes from the values that are personal and unique to each individual. Values are convictions that serve as a foundation for the ethos and morality that guides our decisions. Values accumulate from childhood during the first 21 years.

Sociologist Morris Massey tells us “What a generation is like later in life is closely related to what they are like when they were valued programmed.” How we express our values becomes the autobiography of our lives. In wealth and giving, values drive the creative power that opens the mind and heart to unlimited potential for growth and fulfillment of purpose.

Passion Channels Confidence and Clarity

The third element, passion, comes from the confidence that one’s values are congruent with their vision and action. Clarity of purpose frees the mind and soul to empathize with needs of others and remain open to creative solutions.

Passion is the ability to advocate for causes with enthusiasm and conviction. It takes attitude and aptitude to find creative ways to inspire others and stay the course to achieve the mission of one’s philanthropic biography.

Giving with passion enriches one’s integrity in life. And it brings more meaning into life and to the work done for the greater good of all. Passion enhances self-knowledge of who we are and how we want to interact with others throughout our lives. Psychologist Abraham Maslow expresses this as “becoming everything one is capable of becoming.”