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In my previous blog, I started the “journey” into understanding the mind and heart of the Philanthropist with “Tradition” and “Heritage”. I focused on the strong feeling Philanthropists often have that they are following others. Very often within their own family. Parents, grandparents etc. We also touched on the newer corporate-tradition/culture which employees follow, a trend which to my mind will expand from the perspective of following the tradition and heritage.

Pay Back is our #2 or if you want, as I typically say it in my training: Repaying to the society or to the community. This is based on something that was said to me by yet another Philanthropist who is young and who explained to me in all seriousness that he feels and strongly believes that it is because of the community that his family was able to succeed. He believes in it, and therefore – so do I!

This same philanthropist wants to make a difference in a way that feels like “paying back”, and his way of paying back is charitable giving. By the way, if you are getting curious because of the description above, he also said he believes the making of the money and the donating need to be very similar. He shaped one of the most successful international charitable projects in which I’ve been involved, and he saw it within minutes while it took us a few years to put it together. The fact that he was 30 years old may escape my memory, but it should not escape this report to you!

Philanthropists, unlike many of us would guess or know, have not only the ability to sign checks – many of them, independent of age and/or background, have philanthropic “wisdom” (and beyond!) which I find often as the “other” explanation to how come wealthy people made so much money – because they are brilliant, and that brilliancy can do wonders also in the world of charitable giving above and beyond the giving.

BUT – getting back to Pay Back, I have heard this rationale way too often, by the young at heart and young in age. By Philanthropists who shared with me the stories of how their parents were helped by others in Pittsburgh, in Russia, in Israel, or other global locations. We make a mistake and judge the package by the title: “pay back”. Major mistake!

Let’s go further and deeper with this one, so I contribute something to your thinking process, and not just provide you with a list of why Philanthropists contribute.

Think of any relationship with which you’ve been blessed: family, work, friendship, anywhere. A relationship where you wake up one day with a feeling, and that strong feeling wakes you up and tells you: “Oh God, I have been so lucky, so blessed – I would like to give back.” When that strong feeling in you is clearly identifiable in its direction, in other words….it’s a person (vs. just an emotion without a specific address). The shops typically get lucky as does the other person :- )) But when that strong feeling is more general, you just feel lucky and blessed and, if it’s not so specific…. Often we look around and say: “Thank You!” And we go do something with this “Thank You!” so that it doesn’t remain only inside ourselves but becomes something we can also see. And although I simplified it…. In a nutshell… This is #2.

And if you are an organization (HINT), you want to be around when this feeling comes about in a Philanthropist.

Until the next blog about the Philanthropists…


Michael Steiner

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