A philanthropist is defined as a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. Some philanthropists are well known and have eponymous foundations; others give more anonymously on a daily basis. Either way, these givers make a difference in many lives.
Lorry Lokey, a well-known philanthropist and signatory of the Giving Pledge, recently shared one of his first lessons in giving. He was a young boy, about six, and his mother took him and his brother across the street to the market. It was a very warm day, so his mother decided to treat the boys to an ice cream cone. They crossed the street again toward home and his mother asked if she could have a taste. He said no. So, his mother took the cone from him and ate the whole thing herself. The next time his mother took the boys for ice cream, his mother asked if she could have some and he said yes with a big smile and enthusiastically handed it to his mother. This story is a wonderful example of how our first lesson in giving is sharing.
A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ spirits more that spending it on themselves. Moreover, when you give, you are not only helping the beneficiary; the act itself creates a ripple effect of generosity throughout the community.
SVdP is very grateful for our benefactor Kevin. Kevin mails a $5 money order in honor of “poor and destitute people” on a consistent basis. He describes himself as a philanthropist – he likes to help charities. He shared that he is impressed with our mission to help the homeless and those in need. He also shared his own story. Kevin’s life started out with many setbacks. He was born to a family of eight children, and was ‘orphaned’ and ostracized by his parents. This meant no new clothes, no religion, and no love or encouragement. He started living a life of homelessness, became an alcoholic by age 16, and a drug addict by age 17.
Kevin eventually became close with a couple that lived next door to his family. The husband took Kevin under his wing, and they formed a great friendship. He found the care and compassion that had eluded him during his childhood. Kevin’s life started to take on a new direction. God came into his life. That is when he decided to make positive changes and decisions. Kevin realized that God and faith were what he needed most to persevere. By age 23 he was a successful carpenter and since he was financially stable, he became a philanthropist.
Kevin is now in his 60’s, and has raised children of his own. He took pride in caring for them and nurturing them. He wanted them to have love and faith and to be sure that the cycle would not repeat itself. He has high admiration for the work that is done through SVdP’s services and said SVdP has “touched my heart.”
Whether you give $5 or $5 million, as long as you are someone who loves humankind and a generous person, you are a philanthropist. SVdP wants to thank all of our supporters for being true philanthropists!