Giving To Be Fully Alive

Howard Thurman (1899-1981) was an African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader known for his famous quote, “Follow the grain in your own wood.” When just a boy, Howard’s parents dropped him off at the Florida East Coast Depot in Daytona, Florida, so he could attend high school in a less segregated school in Jacksonville. They paid for his ticket, but forgot to pay for his luggage. He sat in the depot in tears when a stranger approached, listened to his story, and paid his luggage bill for him. In his autobiography, Howard Thurman dedicated his book to the stranger who “restored my broken dream.”

Thurman’s contribution to civil rights was never as loud as Martin Luther King, Jr. Instead, he developed a philosophy of social change by changing one’s individual, internal spirit. His story illustrates the goodness of giving. 

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Giving to charity makes us feel alive. Even though a gift to a qualified charity may entitle us to a deduction against income taxes, taking the deduction is smart investing. Tax laws provide the opportunity to make the world a better place. When we think of others, we forget about ourselves. When we give to others, we come more fully alive.

How To Give to Charity No Matter How Much You Make

We read an article recently that mentioned a man named Chuck Feeney, an Irishman that made his fortune in cognac, perfume and cigarettes sold from duty-free shops. He then made it his life’s mission to give away his entire $7.5 billion fortune while he was still living—a commitment that earned him the nickname the “James Bond of Philanthropy.”

Forbes published an article about Mr. Feeney in 2012 that is well worth the read entitled Chuck Feeney: The Billionaire Who is Trying to Go Broke.

glass half full, half emptyHe gave away his last $7 million in 2016 to Cornell University, leaving him a paltry $2 million to live on. Musing about Mr. Feeney, we found an article written in 2018 by Philip Taylor; we felt it was well worth sharing with our loyal readers.

Mr. Taylor notes that “the average American that makes $1 to $2 million only contributes about 3.2% to charity” but goes on to muse that he rarely gives much over 10% and admits why. You may relate.

He also has some sage but simple advice on how you can give to charity no matter how much you make. There are only 2 steps. It’s a good article.
Here it is.

On behalf of the Stewardship Foundation, it is our great pleasure to wish our friends, clients and mission-oriented non-profits, and all our “neighbors” a Happy New Year. Always know that we are here to serve your charitable giving and gift planning needs, and please refer us to a friend, non-profit or family member whom you think might benefit from our services.

More about Chuck Feeney »

Blind Obedience

In December, our thoughts are drawn to the event in Bethlehem that occurred over 2,000 years ago. We think about a virgin named Mary and how she gave birth to a child and laid him not in a warm incubator in a spotless maternity ward, but in a trough used for hay in a barn with no heat.

Christmas in the stableWe know this is the promised Redeemer, because we’ve been taught and because as believers we have faith that the story, while perhaps not newspaper reporter accurate, is true. But we’ve had years to figure this out. His first visitors were less informed, but were obedient to God’s word, and this is our lesson.

We recall and are humbled by who the Father chose to be his Son’s first visitors. Simple sheep herders, probably with their dogs and of course the new-born lambs that could not be left behind should wolves appear. They came because the angels told them to go—blind obedience to something they could not have understood.

Later, this stable-born Child and his Mother were visited by three kings who on another mission of blind obedience were seeking a royal child—the “king of the Jews.” Instead, on their knees they paid homage to a boy child born in a barn to parents who were obviously poor. And afterwards, refused to tell King Herod anything. Once again, obedient to a dream, they left for home by another path.

Can we be challenged by the shepherds and kings to say “yes” to God’s plan even though we do not understand fully the result of our obedience? At the Stewardship Foundation, we commit once again to be obedient to our charter in the coming year. Considering the state of the markets this month, it will take diligence and optimism. We are up to the task!

On behalf of staff and board, we pray that 2019 is a happy and rewarding year for you and your families. Peace and blessings from The Stewardship Foundation.