Bolder Giving - Give More, Risk more, Inspire more
Tom Hsieh

| West | at least 50% | Profession | Faith |

Comments (23)

Posted on December 21st by Anne Ellinger

Hey all - You might enjoy reading these two blogs posted about the conversations with Tom Hsieh. I'm so energized to hear how his story is affecting people!
From Jen, who was on the Chronicle chat:
From Tyrone, who was on the conference call:

Posted on December 21st by Clint Wilson

Anne & Tom,
Great time with you all on the call and look forward to helping out with moderating some more in 2010!
When you get the time our kids have made a video about our outreach in the Philippines this weekend after seeing the questions posed during our call with Tom:
We have tons of videos which will be on our site about giving for a living at CnC ( this month so look forward to spreading the word about BolderGiving in Asia with your videos soon.
Happy Holidays,

Posted on December 18th by Anne Ellinger

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Bolder Giving for hosting the giving conversation with Tom today!
The conversation has my wheels turning about giving for more direct services versus for more systematic change. I think that I become more aware of issues and the need for systematic change to address those issues through giving, whether time, money, or stuff. I look to the organizations working on the ground for guidance on what is needed systematically. Once I give, I am more connected to that issue and more likely to take baby steps to help w/ system changes where I feel like I can make a difference, whether by signing a petition or some other step. Good point to ponder.
Thanks again for a thought provoking dialogue and for spotlighting an inspiring example of an individual who has embraced giving in his and his family's life in such a big way. I very much appreciate and am encouraged to know there are people like Tom and others on the call who care. I look forward to more of these in the future. Thanks again!
Jennifer Teehan

Posted on December 18th by Brooke

Thanks so much for organizing the call yesterday with Tom Hsieh! Hearing him speak so passionately about his story was very inspiring, especially during this time of year. The experience was transformative, actually. It caused me to think critically about my own giving, and I may be doing some reprioritization in 2010. As a young professional in the social sector, I am very aware of the direct impact that financial giving can have on organizations' ability to do good work. I want to make my financial decisions reflect my choice of a professional path. While I'm still not sure what form this will take, it is something I no longer want to ignore.

Posted on December 18th by Anne Ellinger

As you can see from the discussion above, we had a juicy teleconference discussion with Tom yesterday. About 20 people were on the line. You can listen to the recording of the call, or read an archived "live chat" with me and Tom hosted by the Chronicle on Philanthropy. Please join our future calls!

Posted on December 18th by Anne Ellinger

(Question posed during 12/17 Bold Conversation teleconference)
Could you talk about how you try to be public with your intentional giving? Also, how do you talk about your giving in a way that doesn't make it so exceptional or inaccessible that others can't imagine making similar decisions?

Posted on December 18th by Anne Ellinger

(Question posed during 12/17 Bold Conversation teleconference)
Are savings included in your yearly budget - for retirement, your daughter's future, emergencies, etc? How do you make decisions about if or how much to save for the future?

Posted on December 18th by Anne Ellinger

(Question posed during 12/17 Bold Conversation teleconference)
Tom, you're starting a company that gives 30% of its gross revenues. Could you address what made you decide to bring your giving to your company, and how you decided the appropriate amount to give through the company? How do you decide the appropriate method and who else needs to be involved? Our company tithes (10% of our gross revenue and substantial sliding fee scale rate for clients) and is looking to go deeper in our giving -- perhaps increasing the amount, or giving in a more meaningful way, or involving our associates in the giving, etc? Any suggestions?

Posted on December 18th by Anne Ellinger

(Question posed during 12/17 Bold Conversation teleconference)
How do your neighbors react to your lifestyle and philanthropy?

Posted on December 18th by Anne Ellinger

(Question posed during 12/17 Bold Conversation teleconference)
Tom, you are clearly come at this from a deep commitment of your faith- can you talk about the particulars of why this is a faithful decision for your family? Also, how do you talk about this religious conviction in secular settings?

Posted on December 18th by Anne Ellinger

(Question posed during 12/17 Bolder Giving teleconference)
Tom, have you had any pressure from family members who feel your life style choices around giving are not fair to your daughter? If so, how have you handled it?

Posted on July 8th by Carolyn Watson

What faith! What vision! What trust! The Hsieh family's commitment to living out their values is a testament to the abundance found in living a bold life.
Carolyn Watson

Posted on June 10th by Molly Stranahan

Roseanna, I agree with your belief that the ways we connect through caring and helping each other leads to a better world. I’m curious about how you do that. Are you willing to share some specifics?
I actually think of government as one of the ways we help each other. Ideally ‘government’ is the people we elect to represent us using our money to care for the needs of our neighbors and communities in ways we can’t efficiently or fairly as individuals. I’m not saying government absolves us from responsibility for meeting our own needs and helping others – just that I do expect government to be responsible to us, and that it can be the most efficient way to meet some of society’s needs. And it needs us to hold our representatives accountable.

Posted on June 10th by Molly Stranahan

I hope Bolder Giving is becoming that kind of community for you, as it has for me. I am thrilled about the growing interactivity of the website. I have already been inspired by the stories shared here, and found the links to local resources helpful (my local community foundation offers good programs that support discussions between donors). I used Bolder Giving’s coaching resources and it was extraordinarily supportive and empowering. Thank you for being a part of the Bolder Giving community by sharing your comments.
Any readers have ideas to share about finding or creating a supportive ‘community of givers’?

Posted on June 8th by Roseanna Almaee

Ha! I handle it very carefully, but together we make a good balance. According to my husband, if given a chance, I would give everything away. According to me, he would never give anything to anyone … and in between we strike a balance. I don’t make big donations without consulting him first, but I do make modest donations to the groups and people I am most close to or concerned about. He has helped me see that I need to temper my giving and not be too impulsive.
Also, Bolder Giving’s resources have helped me to make plans and especially, learn to say NO so that I can focus more on my most important areas. These plans have helped our relationship because he is not worried about my giving too much, and I am satisfied that our communication leads me to a level of giving I can accept.

Posted on June 5th by Molly Stranahan

Roseanna, you raise an interesting issue – having a very different definition of “enough” than your spouse or life partner. Since we each have our own view of what is “enough” and it changes over time, what happens when our view is very different from that of our mate, with whom we must make financial and lifestyle decisions?
How do you handle it?

Posted on June 1st by Roseanna Almaee

I especially like what Karen P has to say in her video clip about difficulties of giving … finding a community of givers. I have found more negative responses to my level of giving than positive in the social community of which I am a part. It helps to find and become part of a community of givers so that the support and feedback – and resources – are there when needed.

Posted on June 1st by Roseanna Almaee

I was raised in a Christian belief system which centered on the 10% tithing belief. But in my adulthood, I’ve broadened my belief to a more world embracing one not rooted in any single philosophy, and my spiritual belief about money has changed as well. I believe from a spiritual point of view that each one must help/be responsible for the next one – not totally, not to take away personal responsibility – but I don’t believe we should relay on the government to do for us. We need to do more for ourselves and for our neighbors whether they are across the street or across the ocean. I believe these personal connections and care will lead us to a safer more peaceful world.

Posted on June 1st by Roseanna Almaee

I agree with Gerard Senehi that “enough” is a relative term, and I have come to this realization over time. For example, my view of “enough” is quite different from my husband’s view, and neither is wrong. Each person must come to “enough” on his or her own.

Posted on May 30th by Molly Stranahan

Tom’s values, his “talk,” come from his religious beliefs, and he is fully engaged in living his faith. Many faiths value generosity. Does yours? What are the traditions of your religion or spiritual beliefs, and how do you live them?
I am not a member of any religion. For me my “talk” is the values I have chosen as those most important to me and want to express through the ways I live my life. Therefore, I try to base my decisions on my values: What would be the generous thing to do? If I were being compassionate, what would I do? How can I express love with my actions?
What are your values? How do you try to live them? Who are the role models who inspire you?
Some video clips of Bolder Givers that illustrate this topic:
Leila Janah:
Karen Pittelman:

Posted on May 21st by Fred Burks

Thanks so much for sharing that inspiring story. May ever more people realize that giving money to meaningful causes can be much more uplifting and joyful than spending it on ourselves. Thanks for this wonderful reminder.
With abundant love and joy,
Fred Burks

Posted on May 19th by Molly Stranahan

I used to think "enough" was a number. Now I believe it is a sense of security in the world, based on confidence that I can generate enough money to feed, clothe and house myself, care for my body, stimulate my mind, and share with those I love and those in need. It is a state of mind based on my current lifestyle, my expectations about the future, and especially, on those to whom I compare myself.
While right now I am used to being able to attend theater and travel to lovely places, I believe I could be happy going to free concerts in the park, singing with friends, and reading books about exotic places. If I am attached to believing my life must be a certain way for me to be happy, I'll feel less secure and think I need more to have "enough."
When I'm making a choice to spend money, I so often pause and weigh my personal desires against the causes I could support with those funds. Yet I don't do that nearly to the level of Tom Hsieh: I am awed by his family's choices.
On what do you base your sense of "enough"? Is it income, or savings, possessions or friends and family? Has your idea of "enough" changed over time? If so, what triggered the change?
Some video clips of Bolder Givers that illustrate this topic:
Brad Seligman:
Gerard Senehi:

Posted on May 15th by Anne Ellinger

What challenges me most about Tom's story is that he chooses to live in a poor neighborhood, so the needs are staring him in the face. "Needs" aren't abstract to him. They are his living, breathing, crying neighbors.
I don't live in a fancy neighborhood, but it's green and peaceful and safe and I treasure the peaceful bubble I live in. I'm sure if I were closer to people in dire need I would feel compelled to give more -- of my money, time, and heart. Maybe because I don't have the religious faith Tom has -- I just can't bear opening to so much pain.