The Apple Falls Not Far From the Morality Tree

Almost a year ago, Gallup conducted a survey on the moral value of Americans. More than three in four Americans reported morals in the U.S. as getting worse. Surprisingly, there was little difference in the opinions of Democrats and Republicans — both were equally negative.

Moral values having anything to do with politics is alarming. Moral values are knowing the difference between right and wrong and having a willingness to do the right thing, even if it is hard or dangerous.  Americans entered WWII because they believed that it was  ethically the right thing to do, even though it was dangerous for the individuals who served and for the country as a whole. Americans valued democracy and freedom and were willing to fight for it.

The Ten Commandments define for believers what is right or wrong. Values are defined as those things that are important to an individual or group. Core values may include integrity, professionalism, caring, teamwork, and stewardship when applied to an organization’s vision. The aforementioned core values are part and parcel of the Stewardship Foundation, and form the basis for our ethics.

When we perform ethically, we behave in a manner that is consistent with what we believe to be right or moral. We specifically apply these ethics to our own core belief that financial riches are to be shared, and that faithfulness to God commands that we be good stewards of the riches that we share.

Our Credo is on our website, but those who visit our blog more frequently than our website, they bear repeating:

  • We believe in transformational giving.
  • We believe that giving is a collaborative act between the donor, the charity, and their God
  • We believe that transformational giving is not about the bottom line, but about the heart.
  • We believe that transformational giving creates partnerships that impact entire communities.
  • We believe in the sanctity of human life, marriage and sexual morality, and religious freedom and the rights of conscience.
  • We believe that it is our responsibility to care for the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, and to use our talents for the betterment of mankind through education, opportunity and freedom.

We also believe that those who seek to invest their money through an organization like ours do so because of shared moral values, and whether our clients are Democrats or Republicans, both do so because of equally positive motives. We have choices where and how we invest. What’s more important—social and moral responsibility, or profitability? We believe that both are equally important and that’s why we work hard everyday to manage funds that do both.

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 »