Generosity Generates Many Benefits

Amazing generosity is hard to describe, but we know it when we experience it. Very recently, we have had the great pleasure of experiencing it in a few different forms. Last Sunday afternoon, my wife and I were invited over to my mother-in-law’s home for a family dinner. My sister-in-law and husband were in from Ft. Wayne. After dinner, my mother-in-law explained she wanted to show me something that she had been making. She showed me a king-size hand-made quilt that she and my sister-in-law hand been working on and off for 2 years to complete. Each square was a depiction of a character or story from the Bible and had an amazing level of detail. She said they had made the quilt for me. I was over-whelmed by their generosity. It will certainly be a wonderful family heirloom. Obviously, everyone knew why we were having the dinner but me.

Last Sunday evening, a private dinner at an Anderson couple’s home was an evening to remember. The dinner, attended by 22 people, was an opportunity to experience great food and wine aimed at raising money for Second Harvest. The 5 course dinner was prepared by Chef Alan Sternberg of Field Brewing and Cerulean fame. This 30-year-old executive Chef is ranked among the top young chefs in the country and was a Rising Star Chef of the Year semifinalist in the 2016 and 2018 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards. The Winemaker is Jean-Noel Fourmeaux of VGS Chateau Potelle Winery located in Napa Valley, California. The wines were represented and shared by Michel Pascal of the Carroll Wine Company located in Indianapolis. Each course had a special wine selected to compliment the food. The evening was filled with great stories and lots of fun. Several gifts were also sent by those invited, but who were unable to attend. This amazing generosity by the hosts and invitees raised over $50,000 that evening.

Have you ever been on the giving or the receiving end of amazing generosity? Some donors have told me about their experiences with making gifts and how it made them feel. Sometimes there’s public recognition involved and sometimes it’s very quiet.

A comprehensive review of more than 500 studies on why people give conducted by researchers at the University of Notre Dame drew some interesting conclusions. Giving is more common among people who are religious, have higher levels of education, own a home, are married and live in smaller towns…People are more likely to give when they understand the need they are fulfilling and when they can relate to the cause they are supporting. A longitudinal study by researchers at the University of Buffalo found that people who engaged in helping behaviors with their neighbors and friends, such as running errands, cooking meals, or providing child care, reduced their mortality rates compared with those who did not help. And a 2007 study published in the journal Science found donating to a charity activates neural activity in areas of the brain that are linked to reward processing – the same areas that are activated by pleasures like eating and sex.

Giving is Good for You“, Psychology Today Nov. 22, 2017

We are engaging lots of generous people in discussing the reach and impact of our initiatives. The conversation isn’t always about financial support, but can be a number of ways to engage. We have a need for volunteers on a regular basis and opportunities in all 8 counties. We also have needs for specialized talents and career discussions with kids through The Big Idea. Time, talent and treasure are greatly appreciated and can make amazing generosity rewarding for you!   

Tim Kean, President and CEO

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