Foreign Philanthropy


Inspired by Jefferson’s philosophy and practice as a Weekend Philanthropist and because we got paid for our gig on a TV show (well, not yet…but soon),  I decided to dabble in a little foreign philanthropy myself.

Although philanthropy isn’t foreign to me, the sense of caring for, nourishing, and enhancing a love of humanity, is fading quickly in our troubled world. Read some comments on a Yahoo article or Facebook and I’m sure you’ll agree. But, what exactly is philanthropy and how does it differ from charity?

When I was a working woman, I used to give to charities, mainly because I had more disposable income and less time. But, I found charities to be impersonal. Charities relieve the pains of social problems, such as food, clothing, etc. for natural disasters and other societal pains, but it is temporary relief. On the other hand, philanthropy attempts to get to the root of the problem. I like the thought of getting up close and personal to a problem and trying to solve it from the inside out.

I’ve heard people describe the differences between charity and philanthropy as: charity gives a man a fish and philanthropy teaches a man to fish. Or charity=giving and philanthropy=doing. Either way, charity’s Latin roots and philanthropy’s Greek roots are both based on meanings of loving kindness and generosity. Both are admirable and make a difference in our troubled world. Yet, I lean towards philanthropy because; I have less disposable income and more time, and philanthropy addresses the root causes of why people are vulnerable in the first place.

Although there is a blurred line in the distinctions between charity and philanthropy, the important thing is to do something, right? So in the interest of doing something, I’d like to share with you some of the organizations and people, to which I am paying forward loving kindness and generosity.

1. Johnson Cruz Races for Funds
I have written several posts about Johnson, and I will continue to support him in his quest of becoming a Nicaraguan Olympian.

2. El Carizo Sustainability Project
A friend of mine is empowering a small community in Nicaragua to break the cycle of poverty through organic agriculture, environmental protection, education, and intercultural exchange.

3. OutMore Adventures
My son and his business partners created cultural tourism programs for the indigenous community of Los Ramos, which I will always support. In fact, the TV show filmed them, which was lots of fun. We made nacatamales in their cultural cooking class and filmed the process. The TV crew gorged themselves on the delicious nacatamales. 🙂

Of course, I have more books to buy for my mobile lending library, my neighbor needs running shoes so he can compete in local races, and I’d sure like to help our local hospital with donations of latex gloves (I’m going to stock up on boxes of latex gloves when I go back to the states).

I’ve only begun on my philanthropic journey….with miles to go before I sleep. Yet, when I do sleep…it’s with peaceful, loving thoughts and dreams of what I can do tomorrow.

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14 thoughts on “Foreign Philanthropy

  1. My wife and I are coming to your area and would like to bring something useful. Could be childrens book, latex cloves, or your suggestion. We will be in the country from Dec. 28th till Feb. 22 and am seriously wanting to share.

    • Hi Doug and Lynn,
      Thank you so much for offering to bring something useful to Ometepe Island. I’m sorry I haven’t responded sooner, but I was in the states. Latex gloves would be an awesome gift for the hospital or the police station. They are in desperate need of gloves and I know they would be put to good use. They are light and easy to pack, too. Let me know when you arrive and I’ll be sure to get the gloves to the correct location. Thanks so much for your generosity.

      • We look forward to leaving the cold rain and snow in the NC mountains on Saturday next. Our schedule is flexible but expect to arrive in Ometepe on the 1st. We are bringing latex gloves, assuming delivery from Amazon, and have an assortment of children’s books in hand and pencils,pens,and various school supplies donated by teachers at the school where Lynn retired. We will leave the items at The American Hotel for you if we do not connect otherwise. We are going around the island until the 15th and may return for more weeks depending on our other explorations. I already feel a strong pull to Ometepe, the ox cart and bricks did it, but am keeping an open mind.
        Thanks for taking the time to share so much information and making it easier for those of us coming there for the first time.

        Doug

        • Hola Doug and Lynne,
          The NC mountains? I think you are just a hop, skip, and a jump from our house in TN. We used to live in Asheville,too, and we both taught at Asheville HS. When you arrive at the American, tell Simone ( the owner) to call me and we’ll come into town to meet you. Thank you in advance for your generosity. I am so excited. Safe travels and we hope to see you soon.

  2. Deb, your generosity and intelligent philanthropy is making a big difference in the lives of many. The families of El Carizo are so very grateful and I am honored to have you as a friend. Thank you and we will pay it forward, for sure!

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