Greater Giving: Sharing What Matters Most

5forCNYLogoFinalOutlinesRevised2016By Jan Lane, Development Officer

In the nonprofit sector, we use the word “philanthropy” all the time. Aside from being notoriously hard to say, what does it really mean? It most directly translates to love of humanity or love of mankind. At the Community Foundation, we define it more specifically as the sharing of charitable resources for the benefit of our community. How each of us define it for ourselves, however, is unique and deeply personal.

At the Community Foundation, we meet people at the point where their own individual connection to a cause or charity intersects with their passion and care for community. Our staff lives by a pledge that drives us to “support our fellow community members in becoming authors of opportunity and agents of change.” Those words are intentional. We believe that our words matter, and so do yours.

The spirit of generosity that is common among our donors and nonprofit partners encompasses more than just tangible resources and monetary gifts. When we engage in philanthropy, we are telling the world what is important to us through the causes we support. Sharing your story and giving voice to the life lessons and experiences that have shaped your own generosity is another form of giving back.

In addition to preserving your legacy for future generations, telling the story of what motivates your philanthropy can inspire others to take action and effect positive change. Sometimes, shedding light on our most painful memories can help illuminate a path toward hope and comfort for others who have shared a similar experience. Alternatively, we might find that an early act of kindness from our childhood or a long-held family tradition is reflected in our current giving.

No matter where you are in your life, telling your story and sharing what matters most is a valuable exercise. Of course, getting started is often the hardest part. Because your story is important to us, we have devised a series of tools and resources designed to help you find your voice.

  • Hit the books | Our legacy plan workbook includes a series of exercises and writing prompts to help you document your charitable inspirations in your own words. The workbook is available in both digital and print formats.
  • Workshop it | The Community Foundation offers workshops for individuals and community groups interested in engaging with fellow civic-minded storytellers in a supportive atmosphere.
  • Meet us in the middle | Writing not your thing? We can meet with you individually, or with your family, to facilitate a conversation about what matters to you most and how we can help preserve your charitable legacy.

To learn more about the legacy plan workbook, writing workshops or other ways the Community Foundation can help you document your giving story, please contact Jan Lane at or (315) 883-5546. Learn more at

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