Sixty-seven years ago, a 13-year-old girl caught in the horrors of the holocaust wrote in her diary, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Anne Frank believed in the goodness and compassion of people. We certainly need more conspicuous compassion in the world. Today, four out of five people believe we have lost sight of the fundamental values upon which our country was founded. Philanthropy is one of the three sectors by which we participate in community, the other two being the political and corporate sectors. What makes philanthropy special is that it is the closest to the heartbeat of the ethics and values of our society.
So the question is, “How do we energize our personal philanthropic endeavors to create a more compassionate environment in which we want to live, to work and to sustain for future generations?” There is no one answer and there is no magic wand. However, if “nobody need wait a single moment,” then where can we get the energy to begin and maintain the momentum and the faith to believe that we each make a difference in creating a better world?
I suggest there are three personal driving forces from which we get our energy to make a difference: our passion, our purpose and our power.
- Passion includes the ability to center thoughts and deeds on what we identify in our heart are our greatest desires for the use of our time, talent and treasure.
- Purpose illuminates the wisdom in our life and helps us focus on giving back and reaching forward to cultivate strength in the next generation, and bridging the past and the future.
- Power allows us to take responsibility for decisions and to have the freedom to reinforce and amplify how we want our wealth to impact society for the greater good.
If there is one source for our energy, it comes from the values we inherit from the past and the traditions we want to pass on to the future. The extent to which we know and regularly practice our core values greatly determines our capacity to live in the fullness of life with the passion, purpose and power to start improving the world and fueling the energy of our philanthropy.