On Tuesday, March 15th, the Fredericton Community Foundation held a Vital Signs Round table and for the first time invited the members of the Council of Philanthropy in Action Award Recipients to lead the discussion.
Through the Philanthropy in Action Award the Fredericton Community Foundation shines a light on those truly deserving to highlight what can be achieved through selflessness, determination and positive action. By highlighting such distinguished examples of philanthropic action since 2010, we have correspondingly amassed a growing resource of knowledge, experience and perspective. The Fredericton Community Foundation availed itself of this resource through a knowledgeable and lively conversation with the past recipients.
The conversation spanned a number of topics both general and specific, but there were a number of specific highlights that will be key takeaways:
The Power of Being Asked to Help
The discussion began with a reflection by those around the table on how they first entered into the world of philanthropy. Though the individual experiences varied, the consensus was that philanthropy most often starts with an “Ask” or a “Need”. A philanthropist would most likely never consider himself or herself to be one, until a cause presents itself that they feel passionate about, or someone involved in the issue personally asks for their support. From that initial ask, staying involved with the issue, or learning about other issue areas can become natural, “it just evolves” said one member of the council, and it’s a natural instinct to continue.
When one truly sees what can be achieved through giving, the results become progressive and you tend to stay with that issue for as long as you can. Through whatever means one may choose to give, be it their time, financial assistance, or physical support, it may surprise people what can be achieved and what can really get done once, as one member commented, you “put your shoulder to the wheel”.
Overwhelmingly, the table supported the notion of the power of saying, “Yes”, when needs or requests are presented to you and you have the ability to say yes, it just feels good. In summation of this opening section of the discussion, regarding philanthropy the group cherished the sentiment spoken by one member who said, “People who do this … are happy.”
Youth in Philanthropy
Speaking on the ever-important topic of youth and youth engagement concerning the broad world of philanthropy, there was great optimism expressed at the table, especially concerning a potential “rebirth” of communal action and cooperation. The members recognized positive traits of previous generations present in today’s youth, traits in which people acted as a group in support of community causes, instead of simply focusing on individual needs. It seems an old, yet cherished, ideal that those tasks, which are most needed in our lives and in our community, can be achieve through positive action and “doing it ourselves, for our community”. There was also noted a great number of young people starting to give at very young ages. The tool of the Internet and social media was attributed to the advanced connection of youth to social and communal causes around them. This was, however, also a point of concern as instead of connected, some youth may feel isolated from their community and at the end of the day, the traditional and personal “Ask” may be needed to truly include youth within issues. Youth are also at risk of feeling detached from the community today, and this risk makes the building of personal connections through introductions, engagement and education as important as ever.
The Word “Philanthropy”
A major topic within the discussion concerned a very central term, “Philanthropy”. It was noted that philanthropy is not a word used in everyday life as much as one might think. It was suggested that through the Philanthropy in Action Award, the Fredericton Community Foundation is truly elevating the word into the community consciousness. Though many may have a specific notion of what the word denotes, be it very specific or very broad, the actual etymology of the word means the love of humanity through caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing. We today with the Philanthropy in Action award say that Philanthropy is often defined as the voluntary giving of time and financial resources to promote the well-being of human kind. As this is our definition of Philanthropy, it seems a very important responsibility, to highlight those who so selflessly give to their community, and to continue to benefit from their experience in endeavours like the Vital Signs round table, for through the experience and expertise of those who comprise the Council of PIA Award recipients, we can learn how to better support and encourage others who follow in their path.
In late 2014 Vital Signs Fredericton asked all its readers to take the information provided in the report, and to start your own discussions, to begin travelling on your path towards bettering your community. On March 15, 2016 with this PIA Round-Table, we continued along our path, and perhaps most important of all, we were personally assured of the positive results of saying “Yes” to philanthropy, for as is worth repeating, “People who do this, are happy”.
Make sure to learn about the 2016 Philanthropy in Action Award recipients and get your tickets for this important night in our community.
For tickets please call 454-2262