According to oxforddictionaries.com, philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. Although it is generous to donate money to philanthropies, the true extent of philanthropy can be more than just writing a check. So, what is the true extent of philanthropy?
I believe that an important component of philanthropy is taking the time to spend time with an organization that is important to you. I’d like to provide some examples.
Provide Guidance to Those Who Need It
For a number of years, I was a Big Brother for the United Way. In this role, I had the opportunity to help shape a child’s future for the better. I made weekly visits to my Little Brother, helping him with homework, going to the park to throw the ball around, or just going to get something like ice cream.
These weekly visits were more satisfying to me than simply donating money to the local United Way. Witnessing the joy and security I brought to my Little Brother gave me more satisfaction than board games or frisbees could have had I simply donated money.
Utilize Your Professional Skills to Help Others…
At one point in my career, I was motivated to experience a side of medicine that I had less experience with, namely helping those less socioeconomically fortunate. As a staff physician for the non-profit organization Health Care for the Homeless, I gained a better understanding of the plight of those who were homeless and without access to quality healthcare. It was an eye-opening and rewarding experience to be able to provide healthcare to those who needed it the most.
…And Utilize Your Passions to Do Good
As a high school athlete, I participated in football, basketball and track. Given my sports’ background and love of children, I jumped at the opportunity to spearhead the medical program for Special Olympics Minnesota. Since I believe every child deserves a safe and secure foundation to realize their full potential in life, Special Olympics became the perfect opportunity for me to put my experience as an athlete and physician to use.
My professional endeavors in the healthcare field and my passion for sports have helped guide me to philanthropies like Health Care for the Homeless and Special Olympics. If you volunteer with an organization that shares similar passions, it makes for a very satisfying and enriching experience.
Actively volunteering with an organization that holds a special meaning for you can be more satisfying than just writing a check. The next time you’re thinking about helping a philanthropy in your community, consider actually spending time with the organization. After all, studies have shown that volunteering helps people feel more socially connected, reducing stress and blood pressure, warding off loneliness and depression, and leading to a longer lifespan.