Having benefited from inheritance provided by my grandparents as well as dividends and stocks from my family's paper company, I was moved to do something extraordinary for others. Since so much of my wealth is not earned, I have tried to see it as a community resource as well as my own possession.
I grew up in Upstate New York and my family spent two years in Kenya when I was seven. When I was in college I learned that I would soon become a stockholder and beneficiary of our family owned paper company. My involvement in campus activism soon transformed the Christian ideals of my upbringing into a passionate progressive analysis about the role of capitalism in promoting racism, economic inequality and war.
In my twenties, I attended and helped lead Haymarket People's Funds conferences for people with inherited wealth where I met many inspiring friends who were giving away large amounts of principal – not just some of their dividends. For many years I was able to give away as much as I was living on, about half a million dollars in the last twenty years. Some years I gave away twice my income.
In the early nineties I gave $100,000 to the African National Congress to help them elect members who would help write the new South African Constitution. Even as apartheid was being dismantled I knew the freedom movement would still need ongoing financial support.
I have also enthusiastically supported the national activist training work of Training For Change in Philadelphia. As a volunteer for non-profit groups, I saw that proper training significantly enhances the effectiveness of organizing and activism.
I am a freelance artist and teacher, living comfortably but not extravagantly. Giving large donations has not affected my lifestyle or retirement security. I still struggle for clarity in my gifting, brought on partly by the isolation of not taking enough opportunities to talk about it.
I know I have given more than lots of people and less than some. But the world's need is so great and pressing. It is important to keep asking myself the question, "Can I do more?"
| Northeast | 40 to 59 Years Old | Under $1M | at least 50% | Inheritance |
| International | Social Justice | Impact | Passion |
Posted on January 7th by Danielle Burneika
Let there be lots of online sites for giving locally and globally. I'd imagine that the more ground that's covered, the more likely for results. If you're just beginning to get introduced to the online giving world and you come across a multitude of sites it can reassure the value of giving and allow you the option to choose the site that best fits your personal goals and potential.