8 min read

Last November, Publisher’s Weekly did a review for Kathy LeMay's marvelous new book, The Generosity Plan. Overall, a wonderful review as can be seen below.
Professional global activist LeMay (founder and head of Raising Change), sets out to accomplish a twofold task with her inspirational handbook. First, she ventures to redefine the word "philanthropist" as an egalitarian title that can apply to the masses as well as the rich. The second is to show readers, step-by-step, just how easy it is to be philanthropic, regardless of personality or personal budget. LeMay's success on both counts emerges from her commitment to her causes, the disarming candor of her personal stories of triumph, and the thoughtful discussion points and charts she provides to structure the financial planning process for giving on any salary.
There are two points, however, that I would like to comment on: #1. "Unfortunately, the book's greatest strength is also its weakness—LeMay's well-presented plan is not a quick solution, but requires time, thought, and preparation." I have to wonder when it became a weakness to take time, thought, and preparation to make good choices and create lifestyle changes. We usually put a lot of time, thought, and preparation into planning what college we go to, what career we choose, how we save for our children's educations, purchasing our home, our retirement, even our deaths. Why wouldn't we put similar attention into a generosity plan?
Are people in our culture are so caught up in the "whiz-bang" pace of our lives that they fully expect to just point and click to give quick. How can there be any soul in that? Where is the connection? Or are we just giving quickly to ease our own guilt, or ease our own feelings of powerlessness?
I choose to give back each month, either in the form of money, time, or service. I’m not entering a set of numbers on my phone and texting them to goodness knows where and hoping that my money will actually be used for what it is intended.
I give my time to mentor high school kids who are interested in the publishing business. I donate money to my Native American Tribe because it is of great value to me that their culture and wisdoms be preserved and handed down. I donate fresh fruit from my trees to the local food bank because there is no way I can eat it all, and I want others to enjoy organic fruit and not watch it rot on the ground. I donate money to my local wetland preserve because I so enjoy bringing my children on walks there to birdwatch and sit in silence with the trees, and I don’t want that park to disappear.
What Kathy is trying to get across is that if you want to live a lifestyle of generosity, it’s not about just choosing a few charities and throwing money at them. It’s about finding what truly resonates within you, then forming a plan where you can live that generosity every day. It’s not about single acts of giving, but a lifetime of living generously. And imagine the connection you would cultivate by connecting to those you give to on a more heart level than a purely financial one.
So yes. It does take time. And thought. And preparation. Because it’s not only for us, but for all the generations that come after us. Wouldn’t you want to slow down and pay attention to how you create your own plan?
#2. “Hopefully, readers will be inspired by her characterization of philanthropy as an act of leadership and bravery in a world that is desperately wanting, rather than be discouraged by the long journey ahead.”
Sometimes, the best things are obtained through a bit of work and sacrifice. If everything could be as simple as pushing a button sitting anonymously behind a computer screen, then where is the connection? It ceases to be generosity, and becomes flexing certain muscles in your fingertips.
Living a generous life does take leadership and courage, and it most likely won’t happen overnight. There is so much available to everyone if we would only open up and step onto the path. We must begin moving our feet and taking steps if we are to get anywhere, even if it takes us years to get to our milestones.
If we become easily frustrated or if we are not patient, perhaps it’s time to cultivate some of those values in ourselves and use “creating a generosity plan” as a field for exploration and education.
When we begin to say that it is a weakness to slow down and take our time, we begin to lose our connection to each other, to those we wish to help, to the Earth, and to our soul’s wisdom. We become stunted in our growth and our capacity to live a full and rich life. Some things are not served by quick solutions. There are certain areas on the path that are designed to linger, to be drawn out. I would encourage people to walk with purpose, even if it is at a slow gait. I have a feeling the rewards along the way will be much more satisfying.
There is something to be said for convenience...a co-worker mentioned that "just looking at the news stories, they say the $27 million given through texts eclipses the amount of donations via text raised for Hurricane Katrina victims: less than $500,000. Of that amount, the Red Cross got $22 million." Aid can be gathered at an alarming rate, which is good for the charities and people we wish to help. We can muster ourselves into a unit and send massive amounts of help quickly, efficiently, which is what people in need, need.
I do wonder though...where is the money funneling through? Who is managing it? Is all the money going to the people who really need it? How is it being used? Perhaps websites of charities go into detail about how much is being raised and where they are sending it and for what cause. I also have to wonder if all the modern technological marvels takes away from the connection people have to their act of giving. Is there thought and purpose and intent behind pushing numbers on a phone or going on a website or writing a check? Is it better to make it easy, or better to help people really think about what they're doing? What benefits those in need more? And what if there's no money to give? What then? Those are the itchy, raw questions...-
Are people in our culture are so caught up in the "whiz-bang" pace of our lives that they fully expect to just point and click to give quick. How can there be any soul in that? Where is the connection? Or are we just giving quickly to ease our own guilt, or ease our own feelings of powerlessness? I choose to give back each month, either in the form of money, time, or service. I’m not entering a set of numbers on my phone and texting them to goodness knows where and hoping that my money will actually be used for what it is intended. I give my time to mentor high school kids who are interested in the publishing business. I donate money to my Native American Tribe because it is of great value to me that their culture and wisdoms be preserved and handed down. I donate fresh fruit from my trees to the local food bank because there is no way I can eat it all, and I want others to enjoy organic fruit and not watch it rot on the ground. I donate money to my local wetland preserve because I so enjoy bringing my children on walks there to birdwatch and sit in silence with the trees, and I don’t want that park to disappear. What Kathy is trying to get across is that if you want to live a lifestyle of generosity, it’s not about just choosing a few charities and throwing money at them. It’s about finding what truly resonates within you, then forming a plan where you can live that generosity every day. It’s not about single acts of giving, but a lifetime of living generously. And imagine the connection you would cultivate by connecting to those you give to on a more heart level than a purely financial one. So yes. It does take time. And thought. And preparation. Because it’s not only for us, but for all the generations that come after us. Wouldn’t you want to slow down and pay attention to how you create your own plan? #2. “Hopefully, readers will be inspired by her characterization of philanthropy as an act of leadership and bravery in a world that is desperately wanting, rather than be discouraged by the long journey ahead.” Sometimes, the best things are obtained through a bit of work and sacrifice. If everything could be as simple as pushing a button sitting anonymously behind a computer screen, then where is the connection? It ceases to be generosity, and becomes flexing certain muscles in your fingertips. Living a generous life does take leadership and courage, and it most likely won’t happen overnight. There is so much available to everyone if we would only open up and step onto the path. We must begin moving our feet and taking steps if we are to get anywhere, even if it takes us years to get to our milestones. If we become easily frustrated or if we are not patient, perhaps it’s time to cultivate some of those values in ourselves and use “creating a generosity plan” as a field for exploration and education. When we begin to say that it is a weakness to slow down and take our time, we begin to lose our connection to each other, to those we wish to help, to the Earth, and to our soul’s wisdom. We become stunted in our growth and our capacity to live a full and rich life. Some things are not served by quick solutions. There are certain areas on the path that are designed to linger, to be drawn out. I would encourage people to walk with purpose, even if it is at a slow gait. I have a feeling the rewards along the way will be much more satisfying. There is something to be said for convenience...a co-worker mentioned that "just looking at the news stories, they say the $27 million given through texts eclipses the amount of donations via text raised for Hurricane Katrina victims: less than $500,000. Of that amount, the Red Cross got $22 million." Aid can be gathered at an alarming rate, which is good for the charities and people we wish to help. We can muster ourselves into a unit and send massive amounts of help quickly, efficiently, which is what people in need, need. I do wonder though...where is the money funneling through? Who is managing it? Is all the money going to the people who really need it? How is it being used? Perhaps websites of charities go into detail about how much is being raised and where they are sending it and for what cause. I also have to wonder if all the modern technological marvels takes away from the connection people have to their act of giving. Is there thought and purpose and intent behind pushing numbers on a phone or going on a website or writing a check? Is it better to make it easy, or better to help people really think about what they're doing? What benefits those in need more? And what if there's no money to give? What then? Those are the itchy, raw questions...


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