Charity Is A Personal Thing

We are entering the season of giving and, with that, increased annual charitable appeals.

Wherever we are, in all directions, we can look around our communities and see the obvious needs, in so many forms. Society is best measured in how we care for those who cannot care for themselves, and we respond with our time or money.

It is both admirable and appreciated how we give and to which causes, organizations and issues. A contribution is the match that lights a candle and allows hope to burn and radiate. Enjoy the glow. Feel the warmth. Share the light.

I’m humbled to say I give when I can, consistently. I give selflessly and without expectation. It is a value I treasure; a practice I learned and saw demonstrated by my parents. We were fortunate. I was fortunate to have learned this lesson early in life.

Charity. Empathy. Dignity. Respect.

I’ve taken on causes, supported groups and issues, and have seen the results of my giving. I have appreciated being part of a group whom, many times, I had little in common with except we all saw the worth in giving our time or money. That was my reward; seeing some results.

Charity is a wonderful thing.

I was recently notified of the launch of an annual corporate giving campaign I have belonged to for years. We all know a large workforce can raise a great deal of money, very quickly, through focused application. It is a good thing to give as a group.

But what happens when a campaign begins to seem less about giving and supporting a community, and more about promotion of a corporate entity and the benefits it provides within that community?

The emphasis is less about the good it does, and more about being good for business.

A corporation and its attempts to foster giving, to encourage philanthropy, is to be respected.

Charity is a good thing, but the moment it turns into a “look at me” or “look at us” initiative, the lustre is scratched off the patina. Charity should be felt, acknowledged, and furthered, yet a certain value is lost when an initiative or endeavor becomes boastful.

The expectation of recognition, even gratitude, for a donation negates the true purpose of charity. True charity is anonymous.

Silent charity is self-sustaining. It does not require promotion, endless reminders, or pressure. It is organic; both giver and receiver benefit. Charity is a personal thing.

Personally, I can’t support an appeal where the larger focus is on something less than the act of helping fellow human beings. When a charitable act becomes a number, sum, or price tag, the humanity is removed from the equation.

I don’t expect anything from a donation, other than feeling or knowing my contribution helps further a cause or group I believe in. I will contribute to give in my own silent way, each year contributing a little more than the year before, and I will do it directly. I simply, morally, or comfortably cannot support something that makes the giver a bigger focus than the giving.

I encourage you to look at where your charity flows.

Give. Oh yes, give; consciously; as generously as you are able, and as humanely as possible. Enjoy the spirit of giving, and enjoy it selflessly.

© 2018 j.g. lewis

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
                                                                                                       -Maya Angelou

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