Philanthropy is a tool for advocacy

Many of you may have seen the video this week — a television newscaster in Wisconsin receives an email commenting on her weight — and her passionate and articulate YouTube response that has gone viral.

I love her response, and not just because her name was Jennifer! Here is someone who has basically been called fat, a poor role model and unhealthy – and she has courageously stepped up to refute a bully’s comments and encourages others not to take this sort of abuse, especially kids.

I have long admired the kind of people who are willing to stand up for themselves, who have the courage to fight back against inequity. These are people who can take difficult or even tragic circumstances and turn them around as either a teaching moment or an opportunity to make a difference to others.  Those folks are my kind of heroes.  

Philanthropy is a real tool for advocacy. It changes the world you live in.  Many of you have started funds to address hardships in your community, or hardships that others have to overcome. Some of our donors have passion around specific areas formed by their own experience. Anyone who gives anything — time, money, experience, skills and networks — in any amount, to create a better world, is a philanthropist.  Anyone who stands up to bullies is a hero. October is Anti-Bullying Month, but I think Jennifer would have taken a stand on this any time.