Month: January 2014

The Art of Living

I received a letter from a long-time friend this week that has me thinking about how we respond to changes in fortune — especially in our ability to give. “Over the past couple of years, my interest in, and enthusiasm for, our foundation’s giving has been waning. I have been just going through the motions — and sometimes not even that. This has occurred during the time when the size of our f ...[Read More]

This Is Your Brain On Giving

In 2009, the John Templeton Foundation gave Notre Dame University a $5-million grant to lead research into the relationship between the brain and generosity. The initiative is called the “Science of Generosity,” and under the direction of Christian Smith, discoveries in neuroscience are making it clear that our brains are indeed designed to be generous. I admit I was skeptical when I first heard a ...[Read More]

A Sprinkling Trust

It’s a familiar scene made even more so by movies and novels: the reading of the last will and testament. The somber family is seated quietly around the table in the law office. The attorney reaches down into his briefcase and pulls out the file. He puts on his glasses, clears his throat and starts slowly reading the wishes of the deceased. Of course, in the back of every mind is the obvious ...[Read More]

Goal-Free Giving

If I were to pick one word to describe my mail from nonprofits in December, it would be URGENT! Every email was intent on reminding me how little time I had left to take advantage of either matching grants, the looming end-of-the-year tax deadlines or a special opportunity that would close by December 31. I don’t blame the organizations for this. It’s hard to get our attention from Tha ...[Read More]

The Long Good-Bye

Virtually every time I mention my father in a blog people will comment about how interesting he must have been. Some who knew him will write with anecdotes about his wisdom and humor or ways he became a father figure in their lives. Dad was someone people wanted to know or felt they already did. His ability to put people at ease while at the same time “stretching their categories” made ...[Read More]