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“The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations, and benefits,” by Plutarch.

When I think of philanthropy, I get stuck between this quote, which has some merit. Surrounded by many families living off generational welfare — I have come to believe our government is doing a vast disservice to able-bodied people by just handing them checks.

And there is the opposite position. In the following TED talk Bill and Melinda Gates have a fortune so vast they can change the lives of entire communities and the structure of basic systems like education. Isn’t it a good thing to improve the lives of people around the world so all have an equal chance at a quality of life?

So for now, I decided to put aside the question — is it beneficial to individuals and communities in the long-term to just give them money? The question I tried to answers was: What if someone asked me to help donate their money? I wondered would I donate $25 in the same way I would donate $2500? The answer would be probably. There are a few local groups needing money to move forward with their projects and I would just give it to them.

Now what about the difference between $25,000 and $250,000? Probably not. Both of these amounts I would probably use part of it to have a fundraiser to try to raise even more money. And I would feel (even though it’s not my money to begin with) that I would want some say as to how it was being spent.

And finally, $25,000,000? Now instead of giving it away to someone else’s charity — I believe I would look at starting a charity. I would look at trying to change the entire view of a community. Locals view our town as a factory town even though most of the factories have left. So what if we viewed our community as an artisanal town? If the center of our “industry” was our lake and river and nature trials and small shops ….

I thought this after watching this TED video.

In the end, I was very disappointed in myself. Why should it take millions of dollars to change my community? Why couldn’t I make an impactful change with just $25? I realized it was more of an ego thing than did I really want to make a change thing. If one looks at organizations such as KIVA, who take $25 donations from a few people and put them together to make loans to help people get their businesses started… it doesn’t take millions to make a difference. Only my Ego has convinced me that it does. Did you notice that as the dollar amount went up, so did my need for control and put my face on it? I didn’t until I typed it all out.

Today’s Intention: I don’t need to do everything — something is enough. I don’t need to give more than last year — as long as I give. I recognize that if I give $25 freely from heart — it is no more or less loving than if the Gates’ give $25 million. As long as something is given with love — the starting point does not matter because Love will always expand. I need to evaluate NOT how much I give but WHY I give.

What about you? If you were asked to figure out how to donate money — would you change your approach to donating it depending on the amount?

I hope you receive all that you need today — especially love.