Philanthrophy as Healing: Something Our World Needs Today
From Chris Simoneau, Lee Health’s Chief Foundation and Development Officer.
Those of us working in healthcare have the privilege of working amongst not only some of the smartest people we know, but also the most charitable. Healthcare providers dedicate their lives to improving the lives of others by providing healing remedies that ease physical and mental pains. Across the healthcare system, staff show empathy for others, putting their extensive training into use for the benefit of others.
Many of us who are not medical providers don’t understand this sacrifice. Our service to others is often valued, but differently from the intimate personal connection between a doctor or nurse and the patient. Last week, I met with a trauma surgeon who had been promoted into administration on an interim basis, and he treasured the day where he could go back to treating patients. In his case, it is normally at the edge of life and death. He thrives in helping others at their weakest moments.
All of us have the ability to heal. We do this by lending an ear, bringing groceries to a homebound neighbor, buying stuff that we don’t need from school fundraisers, or checking in on a struggling co-worker. Examples abound of that single interaction that changes a day for the better – the kind word, the pay-it-forward at the drive through, the pat on the back. We all have the power to help one another.
Today, our world needs healers. We are wounded through differences, anger and isolation. We have been polarized by social media, pundits and politicians. We’ve allowed profit to drive division; we have monetized antagonism.
Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, generally expressed through the giving of time, talent or treasure. While generally philanthropy is oriented towards charity, we now need it more than ever across all segments of society. Philanthropy has the power to heal, so in doing so, we can all become closer to doctors and nurses than we thought. Philanthropy can heal economic disparities; think about how a scholarship can provide a life-changing experience to a student, raising them out of poverty. Philanthropy can heal hunger, and can provide entertainment and humor that eliminates hopelessness and hurt. Philanthropy – giving generously – can help the less fortunate, who can contribute more to making our country great.
Philanthropy is not a hand out; it’s a hand up. When someone falls, we help them up. They feel better, and we feel better for doing it. Helping heals.
In a nation that needs healing, I encourage all of you to become a healer. Give generously and ask for little in return. If you are blessed with resources, talents and time, pick someone else up. These days we are too busy knocking people down for no reason. In a world of bullies, be a healer.