A few weeks ago, I attended the AiP conference (Advisors in Philanthropy) for business professionals engaged in various philanthropic advisory practices. For two days, I was among others in the space in which I now live – helping people engage in philanthropy. I was surprised by two things:
You are a busy person. You juggle so many balls in the air, you could join a circus with your prowess. You are highly networked. You are also a philanthropist. You advocate for causes important to you. YOU are exactly the person I would ask to join my board if I was a nonprofit.
When asked what one of the bigger personal challenges a philanthropist faces, the answer often is “saying no when asked for funding, board participation, or a time commitment.” At The Philanthropy Workshop, where I am an alumna, we refer to this as the investment of our time, treasure, and talent.
Lately, I have been talking about the noise and clutter that exists in the world and its distraction from what we need/want to pay attention to. The ruse of loudness and the promise of possessions has let our eyes and minds veer from our priorities.
A year ago, my 95-year-old father called me and said, “I’m dying, come here.” This call was a surprise as he and I have been estranged for years and I thought that someone else would be telling me this news. I surprised myself by saying, “On my way.”
In June of 2013, I did a TEDx talk about the combination of principles and passion in one’s philanthropy. It was titled “The Evolution of a Passionholic.” The word “workaholic” didn’t seem to be the best description of someone who is fully engaged, so I coined the word “passionholic.”
We lost many iconic figures in 2016 – the list seems longer than usual. The fact that I am on the tail-end of middle age and thus aware of more famous people has something to do with my perception. While many of the deceased crossed generational boundaries, Carrie Fisher’s death – and her mother’s, Debbie Reynolds – seemed to be the two that hit many the hardest. The tribute to only them on the Golden Globes illustrated the point.
Last night, the world watched President Barack Obama give a loving, respectful, glowing tribute to his wife, Michelle. As he spoke, we watched him do the many things we have watched other men do to avoid crying in public (and maybe even privately). He rubbed the end of his nose, his lips twitched and quivered for a brief moment, he blinked more than usual, he looked down, he looked up. And then at the moment of barely being able to contain his tears, he took out his handkerchief and dabbed his eyes. The only thing missing was the ‘cough.’