Thursday, August 16, 2007

The "A" List: What Your Giving Says About You

My friend Debbie's mother Charlotte died a few days ago, after a long decline from Alzheimers. At the graveside funeral today, Charlotte's son-in-law (my friend's husband) eulogized her as a woman whose motto was Give, Give, and Give Even More. She was generous across all dimensions, for example having served as a military nurse during WWII. It was the first funeral I've attended where the country presented a flag to the family in honor of a woman's service to our country, and I found that quite touching. Her children and grandchildren spoke of her endless generosity. What a wonderful legacy.
A number of us loved hearing a list of her charitable donations from the last year she was still with it. The rabbi read her "A" list of contributions for 2001. Have a look, and imagine this feisty, idealistic woman!

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Heart Association
  • American Jewish Committee
  • American Jewish Congress,
  • American Jewish Historical Society
  • American Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
  • Americans for Peace Now
  • Americans United for Separation
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • ARZA - Association of Reform Zionists in America
  • Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders (which she suffered from)
Presumably some of the letters of the alphabet have slimmer pickins, but you get the idea. When she cared about things - and she seems to have cared about a great many - she wrote a check. They probably were not large checks, since she was not wealthy, but the world is a better place for her having been here for 84 years.
By the way, there are those that make the argument that one should write fewer, larger checks for more impact. My friends in the not-for-profit world stress, though, that it is important for them to show a wide donor base when they apply for grants, so spreading around also has its merits.

1 comment:

Shai Gluskin said...

Inspirational story. Implicit to your story is the fact that she was a role model, for her kids as well as for the community. The fact that this part of her story played a significant part at her funeral shows that this kind of role modeling continues even after her death.

That's one reason why I don't get the value of anonymous giving -- you take away the role modeling piece. The fact that some people may be haughty and show off in regard to giving doesn't mean that all people are showing off when they give and allow their name to be used.