It's Time to Redefine Generosity - Women's Foundation California

by Michelle Dench, guest blogger

I’ve just returned from a retreat focused on Generosity. The theme of the retreat was “returning to our values in a time of crisis.” This weekend only deepened my understanding of true giving. I came to realize there is no giving and receiving; only giving. Donors at the retreat began asking to be called grateful partners, because they felt in their hearts they received so much more than the word “donor” could describe. We realized that it was the grantees who gave us the motivation, passion and purpose to do our work in the world.

To truly understand generosity we must challenge the belief that we are giving to erase lack. This belief presumes the receiver and the giver must both experience lack in order for there to be a gift. For both receiver and giver, this belief leaves the heart of generosity at the door. While we cannot deny that there is need in the world, I’ve realized that our greatest need is the desire to feel as though there is enough.

We wonder will there be enough money in the bank and food on the table, or enough time to fix a broken system and end the suffering in the world. Yet, however small or mighty a donation, the true gift is the feeling of enough that it brings to the heart. Generosity in any form can transform hearts and policies. It can build bridges where only roads existed. Generosity gives to both the giver and receiver the power of ENOUGH.

In that light we see that generosity gives humanity what we desire most: the end of lack in the presence of enough.

Michelle Dench is a Financial Advisor, Speaker and Author who resides in the Bay Area.

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