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Sunday, November 17, 2013

'Tis the Season: Thanks. Giving.

7:21 PM Posted by Stephanie Horgan , ,
November is flying by! Tiffany and I have been busy with multiple community events and speaking engagements, and are looking forward to seeing some of you this Tuesday night at Skokie Hospital for all our IBD patients who live on the north shore of Chicago. As the days seem to fly by, Thanksgiving is only 11 days away, and then come the winter holidays. As we take time to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for, I have to so much joy for how much my own health has improved over this year. Less than a year ago, I was inpatient all month with surgery complications, and I am thrilled to be out and about, working, making a difference, and able to be independent.

Tonight I watched a 60 Minutes show where part of it was on The Giving Pledge. I had never heard of it before, and wanted to pass it along. It is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The qualification to be in this elite club is to be at least a billionaire, and be willing to donate at least 50% to charity. It looks like the list is up to 115 people, including the well-known Bill and Melinda Gates. I loved this quote from them: "We have been blessed with good fortune beyond our wildest expectations, and we are profoundly grateful. But just as these gifts are great, so we feel a great responsibility to use them well." As a side note, one of the billionaires is the inventor/owner of Spanx, so ladies, the next time you squeeze into a pair, you're giving back.

As we enter the season of counting our blessings and being grateful, I encourage you to brainstorm ways to express your gratitude and give back. There are so many organizations to give to that it can be overwhelming, but if you have a chronic illness, try donating to your national organization to help find a cure. Or find a global cause you are passionate about, like this one in Paraguay, where trash dump workers sift through garbage to make recycled musical instruments for an orchestra for street kids. Before you give, check out Philathropedia to see your organization's financial data, as well as its strengths and areas for improvement.  Happy giving...and please post where you invest so we can join causes!