“The difference between who you are now and who you are five years from now comes down to the people you meet and the books you read.” – Anonymous

The year 2017 seems like a long way off for most of us, but in the blink of an eye it will fly by. And judging by the rhetoric of the proverbial soothsayers, 2017 may well be a pivotal year for women and philanthropy.

Today, and moving forward for the next 60 months, I encourage you to reflect on how the insights gathered from each person you meet – and every book you read – can provide a framework from which to validate the philanthropy you champion. Perhaps a casual conversation will open your heart to a new cause – one that inspires you to take a chance, get involved and make a commitment for the very first time.

The American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

While it might not always be possible in everyday life to choose the people you meet, you certainly can choose the books you read. The next 60 months (a shorter period than most car loans) is a good time to challenge your normal reading habits and stretch the choices to include books that will enhance your discernment on how best to give of your time, talent, and treasure. Perhaps from reading a specific author’s point-of-view you will gain insight as to how to leverage past experiences in order to bring more compassionate and meaningful giving into your life.

From reading books, you get knowledge. And with knowledge, one has a responsibility to use it wisely in all aspects of life, including how you build relationships with people, and how you go about making your philanthropic decisions. I purposefully select books to review for this e-newsletter each month with the goal to inspire readers to look at the philanthropic aspects of their lives in a more holistic and integrative way, so as to better align who they are with the legacy they wish to leave.

It helps me keep an open mind and an inquisitive attitude about the books people recommend that I read and review. Doing so has added a profound richness to my life and made me evermore conscious of how ‘what we say’ and ‘what we do each day’ is an integral part of creating a “network for the greater good” in our community. I invite you to do the same.

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