Making a Life
I read recently that generosity is the gateway to prosperity. Whether we give with our time, talents or our treasures the impacts of living a life of generosity extend far beyond the cause we are supporting.
The physiology of it is fascinating. In one study researchers performed functional MRI scans on donors’ brains. After people donated the part of their brains that lit up was the mesolimbic system – the part of the brain that controls feelings of reward and pleasure. Growing research links generosity with additional potential health benefits like greater self-esteem and satisfaction with life, lower risk of depression, better physical health and even a longer life (https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/health- benefits-giving).
While the science behind it is fun to explore, what I love most about the impact of living a life of generosity is the legacy it leaves. We make a life by what we give. As I reflect on the life that I am making, I am aware of the multiple influences and experiences integral to its design. The most significant to date are those represented by my commitment to invest my time, talents and treasures in others. It is these experiences that have impacted me, that have changed me, more than any other. They make me a better friend, mother, wife, leader – citizen.
Often the decision to get into the classroom as an In4All volunteer or to invest in our work through financial contribution is informed by a desire to give back. Because you care about the narrative of Oregon students and the impact that has on our neighborhoods and communities. This holiday season I ask you to consider the impact your gifts of time, talent and treasure is having on the life you are making. I expect you will find, as I have, that some of the most significant experiences shaping it are connected to what you give.
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to get to share these experiences with you. Your investment in our mission to engage Oregon students in creating a future of limitless possibilities is important work and your contributions to our outcomes is humbling. What a life we are making!
Elaine Charpentier Philippi