Living By Giving

Ray’s Take: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” This was the wisdom of Winston S. Churchill, but living a life of generosity is beneficial for you, your family and your community. Some of the most successful and powerful people in the world have tapped into the power of giving.


Since our kids were young, Dana and I have tried to model the importance of giving back. We have been blessed in many ways. Tuesdays have always been Rotary Day, and at dinner I try to share what happened that day at the meeting and the important things our club is doing both locally and internationally. Creating a charitable culture in your family should be a fun bonding experience. Even the youngest members of your family play an important role and you should listen to them. Having buy-in from each member of your family is crucial to creating a family-giving plan.


Start by meeting once a year to determine what causes are important to each member of your family. Then start creating a plan to help you support those causes financially and with your time.


The causes you support may change from year to year as kids grow and life takes different directions. Be sure to have an annual report from each charity you are considering at your family meeting. This will help determine what resources they need and where your money can make the most difference.


Typically, people donate anywhere from 3 percent to 10 percent of their taxed income. However you decide to divide up your donations, charitable giving requires forethought. You may want to single out one charity and make a sizable donation through a monthly pledge or you may choose to shotgun money to different charities if your income fluctuates each month.


The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis is an invaluable resource in the Memphis area. For more information about the organization, visit


Dana’s Take: I have chronic guilt that I’m not giving enough money to all the great causes in Memphis. What I need is a phone app to automate giving a gift every day of the year to my favorite charitable organizations. I would like to be able to check off organizations from a list and have a fixed amount gifted daily from my bank account. Is that so much to ask?


Perhaps every Sunday a gift would be sent to our church, but Mondays to a health care organization like the Church Health Center, St. Jude or Le Bonheur. Tuesdays could be homeless and food scarcity missions. Wednesday could be women’s causes like YWCA women’s shelters, Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis or Dress for Success. Thursdays could be blanket organizations like the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and United Way. Fridays could be for schools and youth programs like Streets Ministries and Youth Villages. You get the idea.


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