Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In which we begin

"Philanthropy and the good life"? What's that about?

My husband doesn't like the word "philanthropy". He says it sounds like something fancy people do. But I like to look at the origin of the word. It's from the Greek philos, “love” and anthropos, "human being". The love of people.

Giving is one of the most important things in my life. I do it because I believe people – all people, even far-away people – should not have to suffer and die needlessly.

And "the good life"? Doesn't giving away money make your life, um, worse?

Not in my experience. For the last several years, my husband and I have been giving away between 10% and 50% of our income. That leaves us with less cash, but not less enjoyment of life. The things we love most – spending time with family and family, making music, dancing, cooking, reading - are all things we can do on a small budget. If we gave less, we would spend more on ourselves but probably wouldn't be noticeably happier.

This blog is about how to do the most good you can. It's about the ways giving can be satisfying, even exciting. It's about the intersection of generosity and joy.

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