One of my favorite teachers in secondary school, Miss H, is doing a walkathon this month on the 19th. It’s raising money for one of the charitable programs at her church. I wanted to help out so I donated a few dollars as a sponsor. For $50 I have my name on her website for a while. The reason I am telling you this is that I want you to get “jealous” and beat me. (I noticed that a couple of familiar names already did.)
Miss H is located in Toronto, Canada. But you don’t have to be a Canuck to help. They take credit card donations, in any major currency, over the internet. So even if you are camped out in the North Pole now, all you have to do is get out your PC, tablet or smart phone and type it in.
Here’s the website if you are interested:
Won’t you help a good cause – and my good teacher — please?
I don’t have a lot of money to help people with, but I try to do what little else I can. This Sunday I will be working in a free medical and dental clinic in my area. No, I am not playing doctor or dentist. I will most likely be a receptionist which I really enjoy doing on a volunteer basis. I even borrowed some children’s books from friends to bring with me, just in case I meet some bored children who will be there as patients or as “chaperones” for their non-English speaking parents. I will probably enjoy reading to them as much as they listening to me.
Again, I am shamelessly telling you this because I want to share with you how much fun a little giving can bring to your life.
From my infinitesimal acts of goodwill I report to you a gargantuan donation that was recently pledged to Harvard University: 350 million US dollars to the university’s School of Public Health. “The gift comes from the Morningside Foundation, which is supported by Gerald Chan and his brother Ronnie Chan….The gift is among the largest single donations in the history of higher education. Only a handful, including gifts of $1 billion to Vedanta University in India and $600 million to the California Institute of Technology, have been larger.” The Harvard Crimson reported.
My world doesn’t go into the atmosphere of high finance, and I’ve never heard of the Morningside Group until it made news in the United States. Apparently it is headquartered in Shanghai and Hong Kong and one of the principals, Gerald Chan, is a Harvard alum.
When I heard the news my first thought was: There are a lot rich folks in the world. My second thought was: Some of them are really caring and sharing people, which is wonderful. Messieurs Gerald and Ronnie Chan, we are all indirect beneficiaries of your generosity – thank you!
I have a young relative at Harvard whose last name is also Chan, but he is not related to Gerald or Ronnie Chan. I asked him the other day if any of that money would trickle down to his departments of chemistry and biology. He said it wouldn’t but he’d been telling people that his relatives had 350 million dollars to spare. Nice pocket change, isn’t it?
If there is a “moral” to my rambling this week, I guess what I am saying is this: Try to help your neighbors in whatever way you can, big or small. Singularly and collectively, it will make the world a much better place to live, and you will feel better about yourself in the process of doing it.
In the art of giving, I heard this story many years ago. A very wealthy entrepreneur in Taiwan wanted to make a large donation to the Tzu Chi Foundation 慈濟基金會, and the following conversation took place.
“Master Cheng Yen 證 嚴 法 師 , I’d like to make a 5 million dollar donation to your organization. Here’s the check for it. Will you accept it?” Mr. X asked the founder of Tzu Chi.
“Mr. X, on behalf of all the people who will benefit from it, I thank you for your generosity. But I cannot accept it, not like this.” Master Cheng Yen said with a calm smile on her face.
“Why… what….” Mr. X was totally caught off-guard by the master’s response.
“My dear sir, I know you have a benevolent heart. And this is what I would suggest you do with this amount of money you are going to give us. Can you divide it into 10 fractions, give 1/10 of it to us every year for the next 10 years?”
“But this is so inefficient while you could have the whole sum now,” Mr. X countered. He was going to use the word “dumb” but he bit his tongue just in time.
“Mr. X, while I welcome your donation, I want more that you have a kind heart for at least 10 years.”
It’s been a few years since I heard that story. So I basically made up from vague memory what actually transpired between the donor and the donee. But the gist of what happened is real.
And I hope you too have a good heart for a long time.
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