The Giving Season is Upon Us

October 26, 2017

We’re entering the giving season. People tend to give more at this time of year and nonprofit organizations tend to receive more donations in the final months of the year. Why is this?

The clients I’ve worked with are usually inspired to give for myriad reasons other than a tax deduction. So, why do people wait until the end of the year to give? Is it because they’re being asked more at this time of year? How can we change that? How can we be more proactive about our giving? How can we give throughout the year in thoughtful ways?

I hope you’ll join me in an exploration of your giving at one of my upcoming workshops designed to help you create your own vision for giving. You’ll be inspired to give in ways that are most aligned with your values. See below for more details.

Wishing you a joyful giving season and hoping it lasts throughout the year!

Deborah Goldstein

Creating Your Vision for Giving 

The end of the year is just around the corner. And you’re probably already being inundated by requests for donations. How do you decide? How do you avoid feeling overwhelmed by these requests?

Try being more thoughtful about your giving! Create your OWN vision for giving.

In this interactive workshop, I’ll guide participants in:

  • articulating your values
  • identifying your interests
  • picturing your legacy

Register today and enlighten your giving!

I’m pleased to offer this workshop on October 30th, November 27th, and December 10th at Sacred Money Studios and Prosperity Pie Shoppe in Multnomah Village. This lively space is “a place where people gather and practice being in flourishing relationship with money through coaching, classes, community events and best of all, pie!” If you’re local, but not able to join me, be sure to check out this great community resource.


Looking for a Few Good Women

Are you part of a book club, investment group, dinner club, alumni group, or some other collection of awesome women in the Portland area? Are you looking for another way to engage with your friends? Let’s explore giving together!

I’d love to bring Philanthropy Camp for Women to you. Contact me today to schedule!

Do you belong to one of these groups with your spouse/partner and other couples? I’m open to creating a Philanthropy Camp experience that works for you too! Let’s talk.


Resource Highlight—Generation Impact

In the newly released Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors are Revolutionizing Giving, colleagues Sharna Goldseker and Michael Moody reveal the ambitions of Gen X and Millennial givers. These donors have financial resources far out pacing what we’ve seen before. And they have grand plans for how they’ll achieve impact and make a difference now, not when they retire. Take some time to read about these revolutionary givers. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the years ahead.


Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is off to a good start for you.

I’m excited to get back to work this year after taking some time off to be at home with my son. I’ve got a few spots left on my calendar for that special client or project. Will this be the year you take time to engage more fully in your giving? I’d be more than happy to support you in this effort. Feel free to contact me today!

Still curious about what a philanthropic advisor does? Come see me in action later this month as I guide individuals in creating their own vision for giving in 2017. See below for more details.

Wishing you a prosperous year filled with joyous moments of giving.

Deborah Goldstein

Creating Your Vision for Giving in 2017

Did you feel good about giving in 2016? Did you feel overwhelmed by year-end requests? Did you have difficulty deciding which organizations to donate to? Do you feel like you could be more thoughtful about your giving?

Start the New Year off by creating your own vision for giving! In this interactive workshop I’m offering on Sunday, January 22, 2017, I’ll guide participants in articulating their values, identifying their interests, and picturing their legacy. Combined, this will enable participants to develop their own vision for giving.

Register today and enlighten your giving in 2017!

I’m especially pleased to be offering this workshop at Sacred Money Studios and Prosperity Pie Shoppe in Multnomah Village. This exciting new space is “a place where people gather and practice being in flourishing relationship with money through coaching, classes, community events and best of all, pie!” If you’re local, but not able to join me, I encourage you to check out this great community resource for yourself.


Resource Highlight—

As you know, I’m a huge supporter of youth philanthropy. Now, thanks to Foundation Center, is a welcome hub for content, data, and resources. The grants data paints an inspirational picture of youth giving around the world. The resource section provides numerous works that support youth and those who advise them. And if you want to know the latest, you can follow them on social media or check out events in your area. Take a moment to explore what the youth giving movement is all about!




This year has been incredibly full and summer just flew by! Now as we enter fall, the pace may slow, a bit. And many of us will turn our thoughts to year-end giving. I hope you will take time out of your schedule to give some dedicated thought to how your talent, time, treasure, or ties can make a difference at this time of year and in the year ahead.

Meanwhile, see below for a few exciting developments at Enlightened Philanthropy. Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of presenting on family philanthropy and facilitating conversations with individuals to help them determine their own vision for giving. I’ve also been collaborating with colleagues in Canada!

Finally, I’m happy to share that I’ll be on maternity leave from October 9 through January 4, 2016. I look forward to connecting with you in the New Year. Please keep Enlightened Philanthropy in mind as you make plans for 2016. I look forward to supporting you in your giving aspirations in the future.

Wishing you all a joyous fall and holiday season ahead! Happy giving!

Deborah Goldstein

Presentations for Colleagues and Philanthropists

Highlights from recent presentations:

  • In August, I teamed with Justin Miller of BNY Mellon in San Francisco to present on Family Philanthropy: What Works and What Doesn’t at the Annual Rendezvous in Colorado, hosted by the Purposeful Planning Institute. We had a full room and great conversation as the group talked through a couple different scenarios in family philanthropy and how best to address them. Thanks to those of you who attended!
  • In September, I explored family philanthropy further with Lisa Parker, President and Executive Director of The Lawrence Welk Family Foundation, in a teleconference for the Purposeful Planning Institute. If you missed it, feel free to listen in here. Lisa has vast experience in this field and shared some wonderful insights during our time together.
  • I also facilitated conversations with two very different groups about their values, interests, and vision for giving. The first was a group of Millenials (twenty-somethings) brought together for a weekend retreat by the Moishe House. The second was a group of Baby Boomer clients of a local financial planning firm. I so enjoy seeing how different generations respond to this activity. It’s enlightening for all involved!

Philanthropic Summit Attracts Diverse Group of Professionals

Prior to the Rendezvous, I helped facilitate a Philanthropic Summit, hosted by the Purposeful Planning Institute, and attended by colleagues from around the country. Our goal was to come up with some concrete ways to address the gap between trusted advisors and their clients in their perception of the philanthropic conversation, a topic I wrote about in a previous blog post. To learn more about the day, read my colleague’s blog post. Stay tuned for more developments from this gathering.

Philanthropy Workshops for Women in Canada

I’m also excited to announce a partnership with Dexterity Consulting of Canada and TD Wealth. Throughout November, Dexterity Consulting will offer workshops for women in philanthropy in four major cities in Canada to guide them in the development of a strategic giving plan. Enlightened Philanthropy is pleased to support this effort through content and resource development. Click here to learn more and register.


Resource Highlight—Everyone can be a philanthropist!

With everything else that’s going on, it’s easy to forget about past successes. However, this fall, I’m taking a little time to reflect on all the hard work that went into preparing for my TEDx talk last October at Santa Catalina School. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch it, please do so today. My nephew, who recently entered high school, told me he shared it with his social studies class! Is there someone you know who needs to be inspired in their giving? If so, please share.



Spring is in the Air!

April 2, 2015

Spring is in the air! Actually, in Portland, it has been for some time. The first sign for me is always the exquisitely fragrant daphne. Now the cherry trees are blossoming and raining down their petals when the wind and actual raindrops blow through. Daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth have started spreading their color and joy around too.

This reminds me of last spring’s newsletter, where I talked about the origins of the Enlightened Philanthropy logo. The quatrefoil symbolizes cherry blossoms in Chinese culture and also new beginnings. And here I am, at a new beginning once again, setting down roots in Portland.

Thanks to those of you who I’ve met in recent months who are excited about the talents and possibilities I bring back to the area. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead. And I look forward to meeting other colleagues as well. Please feel free to share this newsletter.

And, thanks to my colleagues around the country who are open to collaboration. It is a pleasure to work with you and think about how we can bring the message of Enlightened Philanthropy to a wider audience. You can read more below.

Sending you all wishes for a bright, shiny new beginning this spring!

Deborah Goldstein



Purposeful Planning Institute Annual Rendezvous

We’re a few months into the year and I’m already looking forward to the Annual Rendezvous in Colorado, hosted by the Purposeful Planning Institute, this August. Maybe that’s because I’ve just learned that my colleague, Justin Miller of BNY Mellon in San Francisco, and I will be presenting together on Family Philanthropy: What Works and What Doesn’t.

I hope you’ll join us at this “premier event that offers one-of-a-kind learning and networking opportunities.” This year’s Rendezvous “will bring together over 200 individuals representing more than 20 disciplines and professions for two days of collaborative dialogue, keynotes, and breakout sessions centered on best practices for legacy families and families in business. The theme for this year’s event is The Journey to Mastery and throughout the event we will address the importance of the beginner’s mind and allowing yourself to be open to continual learning and growth in the ongoing journey to mastery.”

Since my first time at the Rendezvous two years ago, I’ve been impressed by the quality of attendees, wealth of networking opportunities, fabulous keynote speakers, and interactive nature of the breakout sessions. I hope to see you there!

Want to Share the Experience of Philanthropy Camp for Women?

In the spirit of collaboration, I’ve been talking with my fellow 21/64 trainer, Emily Davis of Emily Davis Consulting, about bringing Philanthropy Camp for Women to the Boulder, Colorado area. Stay tuned for more information as that develops.

Meanwhile, if you’re an advisor looking for an immersive, experiential philanthropy program for your clients or an individual looking to engage a group of friends in a fun exploration of giving back, let’s talk. I’d be more than happy to bring Philanthropy Camp for Women to your town!

If you’d like to hear more about the experience, listen to this Purposeful Planning Institute call I did last year.

Spreading the Message that We All Can Be Philanthropists!

Thank you to my colleague, Peter Johnson of PWJohnson Wealth Management, who I met at the Rendezvous, for the opportunity to speak to an intimate gathering of clients at a private home in Palo Alto last November. It was my pleasure to inspire these individuals to first think of themselves as philanthropists and then explore their values in more depth in order to inform their giving. Rex Northen of Cleantech Open and Wanda Whitehead of Casa di Mir Montessori School also shared stories of their nonprofit work.

If you missed the live event, the follow up webinar in December was recorded and available to listen to here.



Looking for a Few Young Philanthropists

Last year I launched New Voices of Philanthropy, featuring amazing young givers, on the Enlightened Philanthropy Blog. Since then I have had the pleasure of interviewing numerous thoughtful, dedicated, generous young individuals. I’m in search of more philanthropists (college age or younger) who are making a difference in the world. If you know someone I should interview, please let me know. I’d love to share his or her story of giving.

If you’d like to receive these blog posts and others in your inbox, sign up here.


Resource Highlight—Learning to Give

As you know, I’m keenly interested in how we teach the next generation about giving. How can we instill a culture of philanthropy in the youngest among us? It may happen at home, in the classroom, in a youth group setting, or an afterschool club. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or caring adult, we each can play a role in teaching children how to give back.

To help in that effort, check out Learning to Give. This site is based on the vision that “All youth are educated and equipped for lifelong engagement in philanthropy as givers of time, talent, and treasure for the common good.” They have resources for teachers, parents, students, youth workers, faith groups, and independent schools.

This spring, take time to talk with a young person in your life about what giving means to you and ask how you can support them in giving back.

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Contributing Used Goods

February 26, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 1.30.37 PMAs most of you know by now, in December I moved back to Portland. This involved cleaning out a home I’d lived in for nearly 12 years. I accumulated a lot of things! After a very successful garage sale, I still had numerous possessions with which to part ways.

Fortunately, the Monterey Peninsula is home to a plethora of nonprofits and their benefit shops. By the time I packed everything and was driving north, these remaining items had found their way to one of ten different organizations!

After making stops at a few nonprofits and benefit shops, I decided to start making a list and was truly surprised at the diversity of organizations I found to contribute to: a children’s museum, a library, an interfaith group, a group supporting children, and another helping others to age gracefully. I was even able to help a young woman who was getting out of an abusive relationship to set up a new home. These go way beyond the Goodwill and Salvation Army drop-off centers I’ve found back in the Portland area.

I’m proud to have been able to contribute brand new or gently used items to these groups so they could use them or sell them to achieve their missions.

What the research says…

According to a recent Harris Poll, it seems that contributing used clothing or other used items is more popular among older generations. Ninety percent of respondents over age 68 (Matures) contribute used clothing compared to 54% of Millenials (respondents ages 18-36). As for other used items, 69% of Matures contribute versus 32% of Millenials. For other Gen Xers, like myself, 70% of them contributed used clothing and 42% contributed other used items.

I guess I’m a bit surprised by these figures. This seems like such an easy way to give back, especially if you don’t have money to give. We all have things we’ve used, set aside, and forgotten about. Why haven’t younger generations, who seem to be more environmentally conscious as well, caught on to contributing used items?

Other questions I’m pondering…

Even before reading this study, I started thinking about some other questions…when we contribute in this way, do we think less about the organization or cause we’re helping? Or does that still matter? Is it more about who is benefiting or about passing along things we no longer use?

There are so many questions to consider when we give. In this case, for me, it was more of an afterthought almost. I chose to “spread the wealth” given that there are so many worthy organizations in the Monterey area. And I found this was an easy way to give to causes I might not normally support. I’m curious, what has been your experience with contributing used items?


I’m excited to announce that I will be relocating to Oregon by year-end! After nearly 12 years on the Monterey Peninsula, it’s time to return home to the Pacific Northwest.

I want to thank my colleagues and friends here in Northern California. You have embraced Enlightened Philanthropy and Philanthropy Camp for Women and for that I am truly grateful. I’ll still be close, so please let me know how I can be of help to you and your family and/or your clients.

As I pack up my home and leave many things behind, I’m becoming reacquainted with familiar nonprofits and introduced to new ones as well. What to do with all the craft supplies and other random items (e.g., corks, packing peanuts) I’ve collected? Kids at MY Museum can make them into something fun and new at the Creation Station! Or how about that film camera I’ve passed up for a digital one? Turns out I can donate it to the Weston Scholarship, allowing a future photographer to hone her skills. And all those old towels I have can go to the SPCA for Monterey County so the animals they care for can be wrapped in love. Anything that didn’t sell at the garage sale will go to one of the numerous benefit shops in the area to support local causes. I’m happy to give back to this community that has given so much to me. It is a delight to know that although I’m moving away, part of me will find a new life on the Monterey Peninsula.

It makes me think, how well do any of us know the nonprofits in our community? Does it have to take a move to get to know them? I hope not!

How about getting to know one new organization this holiday season? See how you can help out at this busy time of year. Remember, it will boost your happiness and your health! Take time to serve others over the holidays and let me know what your experience is like.

In the meantime, I’ll be on the road…

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season!

Deborah Goldstein

TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool: Matters of the Heart


On October 17, I had the pleasure of speaking at TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool to an audience of 75 young women and 25 faculty, staff, and community members. They discovered that they too can be philanthropists. The theme, Matters of the Heart, was the perfect stage to talk about philanthropy, values, and sea turtles (one of my other favorite subjects).

I am truly grateful to the student organizers for their hard work and the opportunity to be part of this wonderful event. Afterwards, the TEDx advisor and Assistant Head of the Upper School said she liked this talk so much that she’ll use it as part of their curriculum. Talk about a legacy!

If you’re interested in seeing the talk, you can find the video on my website. Click over to watch it and then remember sharing is caring.

Deborah Goldstein Named New Contributing Author for Planned Giving Design Center


As I talked about in the last newsletter, we all belong to numerous communities. Some are local, others are national or international. I’m pleased to join a new community and esteemed colleagues as a Contributing Author for the Planned Giving Design Center. It’s an honor to add my perspective to the conversation on giving. Please check out the first article I wrote and bookmark the page so you can return to future articles. You can even sign up to receive updates in your inbox.

The Planned Giving Design Center “is a virtual publishing company that was founded in 1998 to help create collaborative relationships between charitable and not-for-profit organizations and members of the professional advisory communities.” They do this by offering “the largest body of content found anywhere on the Internet on the subject of charitable gift planning” and planning tools for advisors and gift planners.

Resource Highlight—Grandparent Legacy Project


The holidays are a time for family. And what better time to capture family stories from grandma or grandpa via a video or audio recording. Not sure where to start? The Grandparent Legacy Project is a book including stories of 15 grandparent’s legacies, a CD with the audio for these stories, and a workbook with prompts to help you capture your own stories. There are even 20 suggestions for how grandparents and grandchildren can explore further.

Create a powerful experience for you and your family. Nothing can replace this opportunity for all to share in the retelling of a family’s legacy, especially their philanthropic legacy. For it is in this passing down where the magic happens. You’ll all be grateful you took the time to record these cherished memories.

How will you bring home the magic to your holidays this season?


It happened again. I told someone what I do and he responded, “I wish I could be a philanthropist.” I told him he could be! And you can be too!

Inspiring Young Philanthropists

TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool: Matters of the HeartOn October 17, 2014, 75 young women along with 25 faculty, staff, and community members discovered that they can be philanthropists. The theme of TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool, Matters of the Heart, was the perfect stage to talk about philanthropy, values, and sea turtles (one of my other favorite topics).

I am truly grateful to the student organizers for their hard work and the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful event. Afterwards, the TEDx advisor and Assistant Head of the Upper School said she liked this talk so much that she’ll use it as part of their curriculum. Talk about a legacy!

The young woman who introduced me, Jennifer Hernandez, Class of 2015, was even inspired to write about philanthropy in one of her college essays. I’m pleased to share some of what she wrote…

“There will always be a place in the world in need of a helping hand, and that is why I have dedicated myself to philanthropy.

While doing service, I have learned more about the different needs and injustices people live with….Every time I volunteer, I keep going back because I know I am making the world a better place for others. And not only do the recipients benefit, but the giver does too. Philanthropy is my source for new discoveries and epiphanies about different societies. It is also the common ground that allows me to create friendships with people that are completely different from me. As a result, I have grown a deep passion for giving.”

Watch the TEDx Talk

Please take time to watch my TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool talk and learn how YOU can be a philanthropist!

Don’t waste another minute thinking you CAN’T be a philanthropist. YOU CAN. Start today, wherever you are, with whatever you can–time, talent, treasure, or ties. Watch and share with those you care about. Together, we can make a difference in our world.



From today’s announcement by the Planned Giving Design Center:

“The Planned Giving Design Center is pleased to welcome new contributing author, Deborah Goldstein. Deborah Goldstein, founder of Enlightened Philanthropy, is dedicated to guiding the next generation in giving. Drawing from more than fifteen years of experience in fundraising and nonprofit management, she engages clients in a tailor-made, intuitive process that reveals their authentic motivation and desire to give.

Helping her clients strategize, problem solve, and align their values and interests with appropriate options culminates in an attainable Philanthropy Roadmap. Goldstein bridges the gap between different ages, building meaningful communication and engendering constructive action. As part of her multi-generational practice, she particularly focuses on advising youth as they navigate the world of philanthropy. Goldstein is also the creator of Philanthropy Camp for Women.

Join Deborah’s group to receive all of her thinking. Just click here to go to Deborah’s group and then click JOIN in the right side menu of her page.”


The Planned Giving Design Center “is a virtual publishing company that was founded in 1998 to help create collaborative relationships between charitable and not-for-profit organizations and members of the professional advisory communities.” They do this by offering “the largest body of content found anywhere on the Internet on the subject of charitable gift planning” and planning tools for advisors and gift planners.

Read my first article on giving, the holidays, and happiness here. Enjoy the tips for conversation during Thanksgiving.


Cody Osborn

Cody Osborn

A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Cody Osborn. This 20-year-old student attends the University of Southern California and is pursuing a double major in Biology and French. Currently, he’s studying in France.

I think you’ll find, as I did, that Cody is wise beyond his years. His dedication to medicine is evident and I’m excited about how he can make a difference for those suffering from cancer in the years to come.

Deborah: Tell me about your experience in Ghana this summer.

Cody: It started in the end of May. It was a ten-day experience all in all. It’s one of those things where you don’t really realize how distant it is until you arrive there. You fly 10 hours to London from LA. Lay over there for a day maybe and you fly to Accra, which is the capitol of Ghana. And once you get there, which is another seven-hour flight from London, mind you, it’s like a three-four hour drive to the lodge we stayed at. Every day we would also commute another 20-30 minutes to the village, which was nothing in comparison.

You realize how far away you are and how distant you are from the norm and your every day. It gets you in that spirit of what you are doing there—that you aren’t doing something that is everyday, you are doing something that is very extraordinary, something very special. It definitely felt like that. It was a strong learning experience for me. It gave me a feeling of the environment a doctor would be in, even in these areas with less supplies than normal. It still feels like a professional doctor would, I imagine.

D: What group were you traveling with?

C: The Global Medical Brigades. They have other trips as well. Honduras and Ghana are the two biggest trips. It was a USC-affiliated trip.

D: Were you traveling with others?

C: There were 11 others in my group. There were other groups from different universities and colleges at this lodge that we were staying at. They had groups as big as 53. We were definitely considered a small group.

D: What kind of work were you doing on a day-to-day basis?

C: It changed. The first few days we were setting up camp. Counting all our pills, our medication, organizing it all into the separate stations. We were there for four days of work and you would rotate around every day. Some days you’d be on triage where you’d be taking blood pressure, vitals. Some days you might just be shadowing a doctor and giving prescriptions, because we had two US physicians as well as two Ghanan physicians. You might be working with the dentist and actually performed a couple tooth extractions, which was pretty exciting. And then there was pharmacy where you’d be filling the actual prescriptions and sending them out. Those were usually our day-to-day tasks.

D: What do you think you’ve learned from this experience?

C: It’s definitely been a career-affirming trip. I’ve definitely found what I’m passionate about in the science of medicine over any science. It’s this aspect of helping another person through the usage of a science, not just talking about theoretical events, which I’ve come to find a lot of sciences are. And that’s what was the big factor, just being in that real setting and getting that rush or that feeling I was chasing.

D: Have you ever done anything like this before?

C: Not in the sense of volunteering in a foreign country. I have been in hospital settings.

D: Was there anything in particular that you took away from the culture or the people you interacted with in Ghana?

C: They are very warm and open, which is really nice to see. I could see how it would be hard to be in a good mood if you live in a country that’s very impoverished—low on resources, high in disease. I could see how it would be easy to have a crappy day. They were all so friendly and warm and thankful for what they did have. That was a good reminder about how to live your life here in a normal society that functions and is clean and safe, thankfully.

Perhaps another would be to really take care of the land. In Ghana, they don’t really care about recycling or proper disposal of waste. They don’t seem to care about it as much. You’d be standing there and all of a sudden someone would drop a piece of trash. You don’t know what to say because you don’t want to be rude. At the same time, why do that? Why not just contain it all? I feel like this needs to happen for true progress to be made in this kind of country. I think it’s really important that they make some progress in that direction.

D: Did you do any other kind of volunteering before this experience?

C: I volunteer at a local research clinic on USC’s campus. I volunteer my time there as a research assistant.

D: I see the work you’re doing as philanthropy. How would you define philanthropy yourself?

C: I don’t want to say it’s selfish, because that’s too extreme. A lot of people look at philanthropy as a way to bring the karma back in their direction. I guess I’d put it that way. They feel like it’s good and thus that makes them a good person. I feel like it’s something you should want to do. Just the fact that you have the capabilities that others don’t. Not because you’re necessarily born with more athleticism or a better immune system, it’s just that you’ve been born into a better area. You’ve been born into a better society and that’s just by the luck of the draw. It’s as simple as that. You just got luckier in the genetic selection of where you were born. Because of that we should recognize that and truly be grateful for that. I think a true recognition of being grateful is actually doing something to help others who just weren’t as lucky as you.

D: Are there other ways you’re engaging in philanthropy?

C: It’s hard to find the extra time sometimes…I find that the pursuit of becoming a doctor is an act of philanthropy in a way. More than anything than becoming a doctor I want to get involved deeply in oncology, the study of cancer, and research how to stop it. To me, philanthropy doesn’t necessarily have to be “we’re going to this place and giving our services for free.” Perhaps a philanthropic action can just be finding something that just betters the world in a way. Perhaps discovering a technology that could end world hunger or cancer. That would touch so many lives in such a positive way. That’s something I want to pursue now.

D: I love that perspective because I like to remind people that philanthropy really means “love of humankind.” It’s not about money necessarily. And any way we can express our love of humankind is philanthropy. You’re expressing that through your desire to help people with cancer. That’s really beautiful.

C: It may not seem like I’m doing work for someone else because I’m in a room studying or in a lab looking through a microscope. And everyone is saying “you’re not out there helping.” It’s kind of one of those things that to make a big change you have to put a lot of work into it. The effects of that aren’t necessarily evident from the get-go or until the culmination of that work, which can be hard for some people to stick through and say, “that person is philanthropic.” Some people won’t say that because they don’t see the immediate results.

D: Great point. Who influences you in your philanthropy and how have they influenced you?

C: I can’t really say that I draw my passion for medicine and the act of helping others from someone else. I feel like it’s something I’ve found throughout life….I’ve changed a lot throughout my life and made these discoveries here and there, picked it up piece by piece. Those are the things that have made me want to become a doctor.

I’ve realized that I’m very much a pacifist. I’ve always seen fights brewing at school for whatever reason and I’ve never thought, “oh, that’s a good idea, that will get it taken care of.” That discovery in particular, that violence is not the answer, has been one of the things to influence my love of medicine and wanting to get involved in it.

D: These discoveries that you’re talking about—have they been through school, family, friends, or other experiences?

C: Probably a combination of all of them really. It’s really when you go through certain things that you make these discoveries. My first real relationship was with my boyfriend, Jack. That was really interesting, because there’s a lot of things to deal with, not just because it’s my first relationship, but because it isn’t a typical relationship by most people’s standards, because it’s between two boys. There’s just a lot to deal with. So that was definitely a learning experience, being in that relationship. I definitely learned how to keep another person in mind at all times, to be truly selfless and maybe compromising on things because it’s for the better. You don’t always have to be right. There’s just been tons of little things I’ve learned like that.

I don’t necessarily identify with a religion, but I definitely believe there’s some greater power out there. I just don’t necessarily have a face for it. I definitely believe there are certain ways to carry out your life that are for an ultimate, better karma in your life and better energy and a better inflow of energy. Like you attract certain people to you by emitting certain frequencies or wavelengths. I try and live my life by that and find a lot of these experiences or these discoveries lead to that good karma. It’s been a very interesting past two years. I’ve seen very drastic changes in the way energy comes into my life, people come into my life, good things come into my life.

D: What do you like best about giving in whatever way that you give? And how does it make you feel?

C: Most of the time I feel my volunteering is going to be in a medical setting or at least will require use of the sciences, medicine, etc. I like that because I’m doing something I’m interested in. So, right off the bat, it’s cool for me. I’m doing something that I genuinely like….I definitely like using medicine as a volunteer. It’s practice. It’s doing something I like and truly appreciate. I am SO excited for medical school, really excited. I think volunteering has helped me get there.

Other than that, obviously, it just feels good to see someone else having a better day because you did something. It just really makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something….Every life is a very significant thing, so just affecting one other person, that you may not necessarily even be able to communicate with, whatever the boundaries are that lie between you two, it’s still cool.

D: Everything we do has this ripple effect.

C: Absolutely.I think the most important thing is genuine intent though. When people really want to do this is when things start happening for the better.

D: What is your philanthropic dream?

C: Finding the cure to cancer would be a great start, at least something to control the cancer. That seems a little bit more realistic in the time frame. It seems like they have. It seems like they’re on their way there….Any major disease that is causing a major outbreak of deaths seems like the one to go after because it’s taking the most people away from us. As a population, that should be our biggest goal, our biggest target. So, that would be really exciting….That would be interesting—doing something that’s good for other people and it’s also sparking your interest and strikes your fancy.

D: Anything else you want to add?

C: Africa might be a little daunting because it’s so far and expensive. There’s a lot of places you can go. I don’t want people to get discouraged because of distance or things like that. Helping anyone is good. If you can’t go to a Third World country, that’s all right, start with your local community. Just volunteer. Any and all will help.

I loved Cody’s additional thoughts…start where you are. I recently wrote about starting to give NOW in any way. Let Cody’s words be an inspiration to you, whether you want to volunteer in your community or abroad.


Inspired to Take Action

October 29, 2014

Last week, a lovely email showed up in my inbox. It said in part…

“I wanted to share with you how inspiring your work is. I have not seen this type of philanthropic consulting before, you must be very proud of what you have accomplished.

My brother and I just came back from Rwanda, where we spent time learning with a group called PIH (Partners in Health), also inspiring. Unfortunately, I arrived back and got right back into the groove of work and pressure that goes along with finishing my medical residency.…your site reminded me that I don’t have to wait to finish what I am doing to contribute.

The mindset of when I get to x I will be able to do y can be very alluring when you are busy. So without talking to you, I have already been inspired and thought that PIH has a monthly donation and if I can afford a gym membership that I never use I can certainly exchange that for a monthly donation to PIH, as I believe in how and what they do to improve health care in underserved communities.”

J.A., Medical Resident

recite-14958-1557917706-ga11s2What struck me about this message is that this is the first time someone has gone beyond saying, “nice website,” and told me that it actually inspired him to take action. I loved this!

I also really appreciated his point about waiting to make a difference. We don’t need to wait. We don’t have to get to a certain stage of life, status, or income level to engage in philanthropy.

We can take action NOW. Every little bit counts. Start where you are. As I’ve said before, it will lead to a happier, healthier life.

What can you do now to make a difference? Have you been inspired to take action? If so, please share in the comments below.