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Radical Generosity for the Real World

Generosity is a way of living, not simply an act of giving.

a real-world experiment in generosity

In September 2014 LaSalle Street Church handed out $500 checks to its congregants, with the instruction to do God’s work in the world. This was a real-world experiment in generosity.

Love Let Go: Radical Generosity for the Real World is the story of these real people experiencing real freedom. And repeatedly that freedom began with small hesitant steps of generosity that became a way of life.

While it is the story of one church, it is the larger story of generosity and its potential when unleashed by you, me, and everyone else inhabiting this divinely and beautifully created planet. It is the story of loving and letting go.

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On Our Minds

Women who give

In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, we honor all women who give generously. Learn more about women’s giving behavior in this article, in which perhaps the most eye-opening sentence is, “British author J.K. Rowling reportedly dropped off the Forbes list of billionaires because she gave so much money away through the Volant Charitable Trust.”

Three questions

What did you do today that you’re proud of? Is there anyone you need to apologize to? What do you hope for tomorrow? Those three questions are what Dr. Lakshmi Halasyamani, Chief Medical Officer of NorthShore University Health System and speaker at TEDxWilmette last week, asks herself each night before she goes to bed. Many Christians ask a similar set of questions using the Ignatian Daily Examen: Where did I see God today?, What am I thankful for today? What did I feel today?, What should I pray for?, and How do I feel about tomorrow? No matter which questions you use to reflect upon each day, the practices of reflection and gratitude nurture the generous life.

A norm of giving

Adam Grant’s book Give and Take discusses givers (and takers) in the workplace. Givers do things like mentor, share networks, and promote others’ ideas. His research supports social contagion theory, including this finding, “When the groups included one consistent giver, the other members contributed more. The presence of a single giver was enough to establish a norm of giving.” Where might you establish a norm of giving today?

Even in a pandemic…

By now you know that we are a bit wonky about social science research. The World Happiness Report is the latest to catch our attention. This Washington Post article summarizes the findings, including this one: “Helping others can take you outside of yourself and help you, too: The global “happiness effects” of generosity increased last year, the report found, and making a donation correlated with higher life satisfaction and positive affect. That finding tracks with a number of studies that testify to the well-being boosts of acts of kindness and volunteering.”

Philanthropic Mission Statement

All of us are philanthropists, whether we are giving our time, money, skills, or influence away to change the world for the better. Ami has been part of a World Vision midwest women’s group for the past year, and the women in the group recently wrote philanthropic mission statements. Ami’s is to liberate the greatness of women and girls, through inspiration, education, and economic empowerment. What’s yours? Maybe start by filling in the blanks: My mission is to ______ by doing ______ for _______.

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