June 4, 2021

The Power of Generosity

Generosity’s power to transform and strengthen has been on my mind recently as we, along with the rest of the world, witness the devastation happening across communities as large as Houston, and as small as the myriad towns throughout the state of Florida and the Caribbean all reeling from Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

For many of us, such tragedies awaken an intrinsic desire to give of our own resources as a way of showing love and support for fellow human beings affected. And, for most of us, sharing such generosity is the only real action we are able to take: it is indeed our means of offering help to those who are feeling helpless.

It is heartening, especially in an era of heightened political division, to see kindness grow out of crisis, to know that the seeds of generosity always remain ready to sprout just when they’re needed most. Yet while the power of giving to – and within – a community is pulled more sharply into view during times like these, that same transformative power is no less forceful in times of stability. And the need is often equally strong, albeit perhaps less visible.  

Our donors know this, and count on us to help them identify opportunities to give of their resources, and themselves. In turn, we are committed to bringing these opportunities to our donors, finding ways for their generosity to answer critical needs or support organizations and efforts that improve the lives of fellow Chattanoogans for the better – all in a way that best reflects their personal values and mission. For instance, there’s the retired physician who received a Grants4Good email and promptly donated to a telemedicine clinic to allow children to be treated at their school, or the donor who made a gift so that every student at Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy could spend $25 at McCays for their own books, or Sankofa, a giving circle fund that supports organizations and efforts that change lives in Chattanooga’s communities of color.

Then there’s the donor who, in addition to setting up a donor-advised fund at the Foundation to protect and support children whose needs are not consistently or sufficiently met, began making supplemental gifts through Purposity, a new online giving platform that gives donors the opportunity to meet the real and immediate needs of individuals in our community in just a few short clicks – including the purchase of clothing for a homeless child because, as the mother of small children, she wanted to ease the worry of a small child she will never meet.  

Even as I write, this list grows and grows – a daily reminder of the caring spirit that pervades the community we all call home, and an ever-evolving demonstration that there are countless ways to show generosity and extend kindness. Indeed, every fund, every donation, every act of service is unique – and every one is valuable. And as we know all too well through our own experiences as a community, every one of these acts of generosity creates our lifeblood – the thing that strengthens us in times of calm, and shores us up against future storms.

This is philanthropy. This is the love of humankind. This is the power of generosity, and this connectivity and love is what we, as your Community Foundation, seek to cultivate and grow.

Yours in generosity,