WOW Word-Of-the-Week #411: Philanthropy

June 20, 2012 by  

Philanthropy – voluntary activity of donating money, property, or services to the needy or for general social betterment.

Last week I asked – “Has anyone ever helped you when you needed it? Do you have a favorite charity that you are involved in? Do you give money, your time, or both?” – and of the responses I got most everyone agreed with what Mark Read said in last week’s WOW, “It just feels good to be able to help.”

Sade’s Graduation 2012

Why I have been on the board of Fostering Opportunities Dollars for Scholars since 2003, and why it is my charity of choice, is because on any single day in San Diego County approximately 7,000 kids are living in an “out-of-home” placement through the Foster program. Of the kids who are “aged out of the system” after reaching 18, between 60-70% end up homeless in San Diego and 60% of the women will have become pregnant by the age of 20. Only 5% of such former foster children will go on to college and only 2% will earn a college degree. We are trying to help these kids make a productive life. We not only raise money for college scholarships but we mentor our students too.

Three years ago I shared my experience as a mentor for Sade. My description of her after our first meeting in 2006 was, “She’s a very angry, inner city kid.” Mentoring Sade has been like peeling an onion. Every layer I got through allowed me to connect with her on a deeper level. She has turned into the most beautiful young woman! I am so proud of her and all of her accomplishments. She graduated from Cuyamaca College in 2009 and went on to SDSU with the Alex Smith Foundation Scholarship. And she graduated on May 18, 2012, with a degree in Social Work and is already talking about studying for her Masters!

This week’s focus is on philanthropy. And I will pose that same question I asked you last week. Have you ever made a difference in a person’s life because you helped them? How did that make you feel?

Reader Responses

“Congratulations to Sade and her good friend and mentor, Susan. Terrific heart-warming success story. Love it, love you.’ – Elaine

“This is a great tribute to you and Sade.  Congratulations to both of you!” – Katie

“I am a big believer in the adage that people are brought into our lives for a reason. Many times we don’t understand the timing. Often it is revealed to us at a later date. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a soft touch for giving to charities. Whenever the doorbell rings, I will listen to the pitch of whoever it is and whatever he or she is trying to sell. I have purchased gift subscriptions of newspapers and magazines, with the knowledge that money is going to help someone. I will listen to these pitches because the person is walking door to door, in the cold and snow, trying to make a difference in someone’s life. That takes time, effort and character because people will either not answer their doors or will close a door in their faces. I remember having doors closed in my face as well as rejections. It is not easy to keep going with nothing to show for your efforts. So, I will listen. At work, when I have been approached about contributing to our company’s walks for Juvenile Diabetes, I will always contribute. One of the ladies in our office has been working with Autism, so I contributed to her walk. I have much for which to be grateful, especially my health and that of my wife and daughters. Many people in life are not so lucky. These are reminders to me that but for the grace of God, go I. I also donate to Goodwill Industries because our donations mean a job for someone. As long as I can do it to help, I will. Because we are all in this together. Great word, Susan. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe