Philanthropy can make the world a better place.
My own urge to share developed out of what my father taught me. He always said to respect other cultures, to never speak ill of someone just because of their race, religion, or place of origin. I tried very hard to follow my father’s advice, and I soon discovered that respect goes hand-in-hand with understanding… and with understanding comes empathy and a desire to help one’s neighbors.
So when Ted and I started out on the farm, it was only natural that we gave away things. It was a causal thing, mostly- if people wanted some rhubarb or dill, for example, they could have it- after all, we had more than we could ever use. And when the business took off, we started to make more formal donations to a number of worthwhile causes. Edmonton and St. Albert had been so good to my family that we had to give something back.
But it was really when Ted and I turned over day-to-day operations to our sons Bill and Jim that we organized how we supported different groups. Philanthropy actually requires a lot of work- there are so many genuinely good causes that it’s often difficult to decide how much to give, and how often.
We eventually decided that we would try to honour every legitimate request we received, rather than giving large amounts to any single charity. That’s what we thought was fair, but of course there are many approaches to philanthropy.
The line between those who have and those who do not is often drawn not so much by skill or hard work, but by simple luck. Now, I know several successful business people who would strongly disagree with that statement, but I stand by it. Yes, hard work is crucial for financial success- but anyone who thinks they got rich all on their own, and support of their neighbors and a lot of luck, they could just as easily have wound up on the other side of the charitable donations.
That’s why I've always liked the statement, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I know that's cliche, but I mean it with all my heart and have instilled this to my boys and grand children.
Lois Hole ~ Lois Hole Speaks