In 1991, I had the good fortune to appreciate the transformational impact of philanthropy. With a little hard work and a lot of luck, early in my career as a Financial Planner, I had achieved reasonable degree of success – that is, success as I defined it at that point in my life.
Then, at 31, it slowly dawned on me that I owed a huge debt of gratitude to those I had never known. I realized that if it were not for the wisdom, wealth and hard work of so many Canadians who came before me, that I, and millions of my fellow Canadians, would not be enjoying the quality of life that makes us the envy of so many around the world. That’s when I decided I needed to contribute in some way and make a difference.
Today, one of those ways is to motivate others to appreciate the varied, amazing and life transforming benefits of philanthropy. And, they’re not just psychological – making you feel good by doing good. They also extend to financial benefits, including paying less tax, leaving more to those you care about and making a positive contribution to the causes that are near and dear to your heart … not to mention the associated health benefits of philanthropy discussed in numerous medical studies.
My book, What Was Your Great Grandmother’s Name, provides 50 simple, easy and encouraging reminders of why and how we give, many of which are based on my own personal experiences. Read it all the way through. Read it once a week. Or read one thought at a time when you have a spare five minutes. Then, give the book away. Not only will you have been transformed … but so will the person who receives it!
Keith, his wife Tanja, and their daughter Kiera
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate. I think it is above all to matter, to count, to stand for something. To have it make some difference that you live at all.”