I used to teach seminars on brain research. I know, I know, it sounds boring. But it’s really fascinating. One of the main objectives that I taught was how we should no longer ask, “Are you smart?” Instead, we should inquire, “How are you smart?” Because we are all smart, just in different ways. When Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid”, he was right.
This reminded me of that Fruit Stripe Gum we used to chew when we were kids. Fruit Stripe Gum was popularly known for its ‘5 juicy flavors’ and zebra mascot (named Yipes for you trivia buffs out there). However, most people probably didn’t realize that each stripe in the Fruit Stripe Gum had to be painted on. Each stripe! I guess they had to earn their stripes, so to speak. Just when you thought every piece of gum was the same, the stripes made them just a bit different. Just like us.
Our Board President, Marty Harker, and I were laughing about this very thing at our last Board Meeting. Marty absolutely loved a recent Compliance Meeting that dealt with really detailed, uber-important legal mumbo-jumbo…a meeting that required a dose of Tylenol for me before all was said and done. Then at the Board Meeting, I got all geeked out about some super new technology that will make donating easier for our donors! Then, he called me weird. I said he was weird right back. The truth is, we’re both weird. Just a different kind of weird. Thank goodness! That’s what makes life amazing! I’m thrilled that he loves the legal mumbo jumbo so I don’t have to. He’s happy I’m dorktacular and can appreciate the finer technology in life…especially since it will ultimately be helpful to you, our donors.
And that, folks, is not only what makes the world go ‘round, but also what makes the Community Foundation so great. We have over 300 funds/causes to choose from or you can open your own fund with us. (Call me if you’re interested.) So, the real question isn’t “Are you generous?” Instead, it’s “How are you generous?” Seriously…you need to ask yourself that. In your daily life, how have you chosen to be generous? That’s deep stuff, right?
The good news is that unlike Fruit Stipe gum, you don’t have to earn your stripes. Generosity doesn’t require skills or talent, a degree or a title. You just have to do it. Big or small. You just have to give what you can when you can. One of my favorite authors, Robert Fulghum once said, “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.” That’s my wish for you…to find a cause that you genuinely adore. Then determine how you are going to be generous. Can’t afford to spare $50.00, then send them $5.00 a month for a year. Don’t have a lot of discretionary income, then include the organization in your will and let them know about it. Or maybe you have money to donate, but haven’t found your one true charitable love yet. Have no fear, you can set up a fund at the Foundation to benefit ‘general charitable purposes’ and then make grants as you discover causes that are really helping people. There are as many ways to give as there are fish in the sea. And, thankfully, none of those fish happen to be tree climbers.