I attended a fascinating debate last night, hosted by Quartet, our fellow Community Foundation in Bristol, which cleverly unpicked both the meaning of home and the idea that learning to be generous has to begin somewhere. For many, this 'in the home'.
Other thoughts that struck a chord:
Philanthropy and charity remain different, but whilst they might initially start with a generous heart for those we love, they cannot and do not stop there. Obviously the secretary-turned-philanthropist in the NYT article below realised this more than anyone.
Charity needs to start where there is greatest need - but how do you define need? Often it is the very many things we simply take for granted.
Sustainable Development Goals go a long way to articulate where to start in terms of our basic level of need e.g. no hunger, clean water.
Whilst not as many as the 93 million living in slums in India, there are still plenty of children in Oxfordshire going without proper meals throughout the school holidays or arriving at school not having had breakfast. The Revd in Banbury can tell you all about that.
It is most important we don't make a mistake and do nothing, because we can make a difference even by helping just one person.
Anita Roddick was quoted as saying if you are worried about how small an impact you might have, just try going to bed with a mosquito!
So let's all go out into the world today and do something wonderful and explore what makes us all insanely human: that philanthropic exultation to give back. The need has never been greater, and we all share a responsibility to accept that in so many cases it is our own exploitation of 'the system' that causes so many of the problems we see around us, whether at home or abroad.
Even by the dizzying standards of New York City philanthropy, a recent $6.24 million donation to the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side was a whopper — the largest single gift from an individual to the social service group in its 125-year history. It was not donated by some billionaire benefactor, but by a frugal legal secretary from Brooklyn who toiled for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at age 96 and died not long afterward in 2016. Her name was Sylvia Bloom and even her closest friends and relatives had no idea she had amassed a fortune over the decades. She did this by shrewdly observing the investments made by the lawyers she served.