Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Transformed Philanthropy

“Russ wanted the Russell Berrie Foundation to make a difference, to make his philanthropy count,” said Angelica Berrie, president of the Russell Berrie Foundation. “Giving is not just about writing a check. It is a relationship between those who have the means to touch people’s lives and the causes that inspire their generosity. In the process, we are transformed by acts of loving-kindness.”

The above quote is from the Russell Berrie Foundation and their focus on transformational giving. Not bad stuff. However, let me challenge this statement by laying the Christian principles of TG on top of this.

I am not saying the quote from Ms. Berrie is wrong; I just want to tweak it. So let's look at it phrase by phrase.



  • "Russ wanted the Russell Berrie Foundation to make a difference, to make his philanthropy count,” Good point, no one wants to think their giving was a waste of resources.

  • “Giving is not just about writing a check.” Amen. More people need to hear this and believe it.

  • “It is a relationship between those who have the means…” Here is where I would like to ‘beef up’ the thoughts of the RBFoundation’s idea of transformational giving. “It is a relationship”, I love that part. The statement about ‘people with means’ can be taken wrong if we are not careful. We all have means, not just the wealthy. Not the same amount to be sure, but if giving is not just about writing a check then transformation giving is for. Everyone has something to GIVE. (Check out When Helping Hurts to see that everyone has something to give.)

  • “to touch people’s lives and the causes that inspire their generosity.” As this blog looks at TG we look at the Christina view point of giving being part of following Christ, so this portion of the quote takes a different turn when thinking of giving being part of our stewardship. What if we said, “to touch people’s lives in ways to communicate and inspire their generosity as an act of obedience to the teachings of Christ.” Giving is Christlike, therefore giving changes the giver in that it is a result of the character of Christ breaking into a fallen world. Also by looking at our generosity as an act of obedience it takes the focus off us and puts the focus on what God is saying and doing.

  • “In the process, we are transformed by acts of loving-kindness.” So true, but as followers of Christ both giving and teaching about giving flow from God changing givers as a result of obedience. Loving-kindness is from God. This is why the act of giving is transformational.

1 comment:

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