Being a philanthropist is synonymous with being a humanitarian, a do-gooder, an altruist. In its most simple form, it is sharing.
And the value of what is shared is often not found in the amount or measure of the gift.
The value of what is given is often determined by the one receiving.
I bring this topic up because I have been greatly honored by a simple and quiet act of philanthropy.
On September 9th of 2010 at 7:00 p.m., I stood outside a conference room on the U of U campus. I was about to speak at the Salt Lake Jung Society. I was reviewing my notes and getting grounded when a former client Fran Brown approached with her daughter Jenn.
Fran gave me a hug, a nod of encouragement for the speech and then handed me a book elegantly wrapped in a huge purple ribbon with a card attached.
Later that night, upon opening the card, I found a check for $200.00. Fran wanted me to know that she would be cheering me on for my upcoming sprint triathlon. This race marked my first competitive athletic event for about three decades. I entered the race as an exercise to face off with my fear of drowning. She was offering me “sponsorship” as I competed against my nemesis.
Can you imagine the magnitude having a “sponsor” is when you’re not racing for prize money? For me the impact bubbled like sparkling soda through my veins. I was inspired by her gigantic gesture. Her gift said to me: “I believe in you. I recognize your journey, your growth and your great desire to meet this huge goal.”
On race day some athletes were bedecked with sponsor emblems, other’s rode bikes, wore shoes or wetsuits provided by name brands. I on the other hand carried what I considered the best sponsor of all in my heart.
Fran Brown, you are a tiny woman powered by ten tons of goodness. You are our SoulSalt Philanthropist of the Year.