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Become More Generous
In A Me-First World
Americans like to think of themselves as generous people.
And often, the numbers back that up, such as a recent report that revealed they gave a record $373.3 billion to charity in 2015.
But as impressive as that sum seems, most people still struggle with the stingier side of human nature, putting their own material wants first and considering charitable giving only as an afterthought, say John Cortines and Greg Baumer, co-authors of the book “God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School” (www.godandmoney.net).
“We don’t need to point fingers at ‘those greedy people over there on Wall Street’ or wherever,” Cortines says. “Greed lurks in all of us. The question is: What are we going to do about it?”
The good news, Cortines and Baumer say, is that while greed is a widespread human characteristic, so is generosity. Reflecting on their lifelong journey, they took a hard look at biblical passages while at Harvard and became convinced that their own hearts were full of greed and needed to change.
“Take your pick of a worldview and it encourages sharing with others,” Baumer says. “Eastern faiths, Abrahamic faiths, atheism – it doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to this topic. Virtually all of humanity values generosity.”
But valuing generosity is one thing. Making it a significant part of your lifestyle is something else. Cortines and Baumer say mindsets about money can be broken down into three groups: spenders, who pursue the greatest amount of consumption right now without much thought of tomorrow; savers, who limit their consumption to accumulate wealth; and servants, who limit both consumption and wealth building so they can give the most money possible to help others.
“That last group, unfortunately, is the rarest,” Cortines says.
There are steps people can take to become more generous, Cortines and Baumer say. Those include:
• Make giving a priority.
In any endeavor, how well you do depends on how much of a
priority you make the goal. It’s tough to be generous if the
amount you give is based on what’s left over after you’ve
satisfied your own wants. Cortines and Baumer give right
off the top, before setting the rest of their monthly budgets.
(They give away 12-18 percent of their gross incomes,
• Talk about your finances. In our culture we talk about almost everything, but are strangely silent about personal finances. Sharing your financial life with a trusted friend can help you gain perspective, Cortines and Baumer claim. They each fully divulge their finances to close friends, soliciting advice and encouragement.
• Set “financial finish lines.” While it’s important to take care of yourself and your family, Cortines and Baumer say it helps to come up with a cutoff point where there is no further need for more spending or more wealth accumulation. Both authors have publicly committed to live a middle class life, regardless of their earnings. Getting more money should increase our standard of giving, not our standard of living, they say.
“You can always find ways to justify more spending and more accumulation of wealth,” Baumer says. “But at some point you should ask yourself, ‘How much is enough?’ ”
About John Cortines and Greg Baumer
John Cortines and Greg Baumer are co-authors of “God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School” (www.godandmoney.net). Baumer is VP of Business Development for naviHealth, a Nashville-based healthcare technology firm. Cortines is Executive VP of Emerging Leaders for Generous Giving, an organization that exists to share the biblical message of generosity.
I'm excited to announce
Phoenix DogFest Walk 'n Roll
Canine Companions for Independence
on March 7 at the Scottsdale Civic Center. Please help spread the word about this fun, family-friendly, dog-friendly event that is being organized by a hard-working volunteer team of Phoenix residents. Proceeds will help provide assistance dogs for people with disabilities.
Olivia Dodson was diagnosed with AML – Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Friends, families and local companies have come together to create an amazing event to help a four-year old little girl from Phoenix.
Earlier this year, Olivia Dodson was diagnosed with AML – Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
After six months of treatment, FOUR rounds of chemotherapy and two Phoenix area hospitals, Olivia is working on her strong recovery. In July, her body ravaged by the very chemotherapy meant to cure her; she came close to losing her battle with this horrible disease due to a simple infection.
The fight for this FEISTY little girl continues as she is looking to beating AML and start the healing process desperately needed on your weak body.
In just a few weeks, “Jazzed for Olivia” will be held downtown at The Nash. The event includes smooth jazz artist Pete Gitlin, giveaways and raffle prizes. All money raised will support Olivia and her family’s medical costs and ongoing treatment.
Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org.
Dear FAIR Foundation members. Please note the message under my signature from UNOS. We urge you to go to the link they provide and input on the new organ-donor proposals that affect you directly. A sample of our input that you may wish to consider, as a member of FAIR who is represented by our Board of Directors, is as follows: On behalf of our Board of Directors of 27 transplant surgeons, medical directors and patient advocates, I urge passage of this proposal and all others that will assist in reversing our country's organ-donor crisis. Indeed, with one listed or delisted patient dying, on average, every 52 minutes, urgent action is needed to correct this unacceptable situation. http://fairfoundation.org/organdonation/waiting_list_death_rate.htm
Thank you for your support and your
advocacy and my personal thanks to FAIR member and
organ-donor advocate Gilbert Contreras for bringing this
message from UNOS to my attention today.
Alice Cooper Solid Rock Foundation
As long-time residents of Arizona and devoted fathers, Alice Cooper and Chuck Savale understand firsthand how desperately Valley communities must address the needs of its teenagers. The two shared their dream while playing 18 holes of golf, a favorite pastime of theirs. Together, they envisioned a Christian organization solely dedicated to helping these teens. In November of 1995, Solid Rock was founded and the dream became a reality.
Originally, Solid Rock existed to raise money for other Christian organizations and individuals with like-minded missions. However, the dream went well beyond its original fundraising foundation. Alice and Chuck envisioned a teen center that provides an outlet where teens can flourish, understand themselves, learn and equip themselves for the road ahead. Thus, the idea of "The Rock" was born and the primary mission of Solid Rock was realized. http://www.alicecoopersolidrock.com
Past articles & photos online at Arizona Panoramic Horizons at
Famous rocker and avid collector Alice Cooper will return to Scottsdale in 2008 to auction his smooth 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing custom re-creation. ...
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