Teaching Philanthropy: Saving the Youngest by Engaging Our Youngest
Philanthropy is often closely associated with targeted assistance that may be centered on health, housing, social support, research, crisis intervention and the arts. But it’s important to remember that philanthropy is also about educating others and instilling principles of charity in ourselves and our children.
Philanthropists are motivated by passion. It’s not a passion for numbers and allocating resources. At its most basic, it is a passion for doing good in the world and uplifting people and communities.
The motivation of passion is often misidentified as motivation for monetary or reputational gain. Although there may be recognition tied to the work they do, philanthropists at their core seek satisfaction in creating opportunities and making notable changes in the world – changes that can largely impact at least one person’s life.
Philanthropists know that through charity, one does not seek to improve just the outside world, but also to truly improve themselves. The notion of giving back and attaining satisfaction through making a difference in society is something that has been passed down from generation to generation as one of the standard pillars of society.
Winston Churchill put it best when he said: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” This perspective is an invaluable legacy to give to a child.
At The Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation, children are central to our initiatives. We understand that society would essentially amount to nothing without us as a collective shaping and elevating the future generation. Through our support of various causes like improving neonatal care, sitting on Boards for business innovation for students and donating to various organizations that aim to uplift children, we set out to assist children growing into being the best version of themselves.
In an article for The Philanthropic Initiative, Ellen Remmer writes that “guiding and involving … children in philanthropy in age-appropriate ways creates paths toward a greater personal understanding and self-worth based on solid values. These children grow up to appreciate their roles within a broader community and find a sense of purpose and fulfillment that extends across their endeavors.”
She offers several proven ways to engage children in charitable behavior, from random acts of kindness to family or school-based campaigns, including:
Explore and make the most of teachable moments.
“Children are observant and wiser than they let on. They are aware, in their own ways, about the issues others face. As such, there are age-appropriate ways to ‘unshelter’ children and create moments to talk about issues facing the world today.… They are waiting for you to teach them.”
Make philanthropy fun.
“Of all the experiences in the world, the opportunity to know you have made a difference and have found, or are exploring your way toward, purpose in life is one of the sweetest.”
Of course, it’s not hard to make philanthropy fun, because in the end every charitable act brings joy into the life of another person – the same societal pillar that has been passed down for generations.
As author H. Jackson Brown Jr. wrote, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”