10 Reasons to Love Philanthropy

February 21, 2019
A black and white photo of a group of people wearing Foundation t shirts listening to a speaker

Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed by the sacrifice of one's resources to benefit a community's deepest needs. We couldn’t think of a better month than February to talk about why we absolutely love philanthropy (and why you should too!). Here are ten reasons we think giving back is one of the greatest acts of love for our community:

1. Philanthropy is a marker of resilience.

Residents who consistently invest in their community and the level to which they give is a marker of opposition in the face of adversity. In addition to tax benefits, philanthropy offers personal satisfaction, increases connection, and helps to equip local nonprofits in Beaumont who serve vulnerable communities.

As we write this love letter of sorts about who philanthropy is and why she’s worth loving, consider in yourself the feelings philanthropy evokes, the passion it incites, and the goodwill it wishes.

2. Philanthropy evokes gratitude.

Whether you’re giving or receiving a gift, the gesture can elicit feelings of gratitude. Research has found that gratitude is foundational for happiness, health, and social bonds.

The expression of gratitude is linked to a host of mental and physical benefits. Studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood, and even boost immunity. Gratitude can decrease depression, anxiety, the difficulties associated with chronic pain, and the risk of disease.

You've heard it said, "it's better to give than to receive." Small acts of generosity in our communities will offer more positive change than we may have originally intended. Everyone should be a philanthropist, and through the Foundation, everyone can be.

3. Philanthropy incites personal satisfaction.

It's not by placebo effect that you feel good when you share your resources. Studies show that we are physically affected by acts of generosity.

When you give, your brain rewards your body with a shot of dopamine. Dopamine is a habit-forming neurotransmitter that triggers positive emotions such as optimism and camaraderie. Because it feels good, naturally, we want more.

Intrigued? You should be. Philanthropy and its benefits are impactful in more ways than you'd imagine.

4. Philanthropy allows you to inspire others.

Did you know that you can catch the "Giving Bug"? That’s right - philanthropy is contagious!

Studies show that when one person behaves generously, it incites generous behavior in observers to behave generously later. In fact, researchers found that altruism could spread by three degrees — from person to person to person to person. Studies have written, “each person in a network can influence dozens or even hundreds of people, some of whom he or she does not know and has not met.”

We touched on links between giving and dopamine, but giving has been linked to the release of oxytocin as well — a neuropeptide that signals trust, safety, and connection to others. In laboratory studies, it's been proven that people on an “oxytocin high” can potentially jumpstart a virtuous circle, where one person’s generous behavior triggers another’s.

What's that I hear? A giving circle in your future? Giving today could leave a legacy for you, and inspire others to do the same.

5. Philanthropy induces empathy.

We're not scientists, but the chemicals that come into play when giving a gift are hard to ignore. On the flip side, gifts are guaranteed to cause serotonin — the happy hormone, to flow in the receiver.

Watching and listening for the needs of others is at the heart of philanthropy. When we know the benefits of giving and understand the benefits of receiving, we're more likely to choose generosity.

Practicing and acting on empathy can start by asking yourself this question: "What do I have to give today?"

The heart of the Foundation's mission is to share philanthropy because we've empathized with the needs of Southeast Texas nonprofits and understand the impact it makes in the lives of Southeast Texas residents.

6. Philanthropy advances causes you care about.

 Your heart is where you can look for causes worth caring about. What causes are closest to yours?

If you feel you need a more attuned reason to give other than the general welfare of others, we suggest asking, "Who would I like my gifts to impact?" At the Foundation, we've taken the guesswork out of philanthropy. Giving is made simple; give where you want, how you want, and when you want.

Knowing you're furthering the causes that are near and dear to your heart is reason enough to fall in love with philanthropy all over again. All it takes is one gift to become a philanthropist

7. Philanthropy broadens your perspective of the world around you.

Being curious about the world around you drives understanding, and understanding drives the opportunity to make an impact. Being a philanthropist can look like committing your time, treasure, or talent to improve the wellbeing of humankind by preventing and solving social problems.

The Foundation for Southeast Texas listens to the needs of nonprofits and is committed to solving problems right here at home. But it is only made possible through the generosity of local philanthropists like you, and local philanthropic organizations like us. Together we make waves in Southeast Texas.

8. Philanthropy provides flexibility.  

When you are generous with your finances towards Southeast Texas, you’ll receive a tax receipt from the Foundation.

Yes, it’s true philanthropy is multifaceted when it comes to giving back. Through philanthropy, you and your businesses can receive a tax break. Donations qualify for an itemized deduction from income. Because the tax rate is then applied to a reduced income, this can minimize your overall tax liability.

In a quest for fairness, Uncle Sam gives back in the name of philanthropy. You should, too.

9. Philanthropy is inclusive.

Everyone feels valued when seen, heard, and attended to. Inclusion begins with a recurring commitment to see every person by valuing them in these ways.

Simple to the core, philanthropy is a community of people committed to supporting social causes that enhance the wellbeing of others. The Foundation upholds this inclusivity by acting as liaison, connecting local philanthropists with the nonprofits that help the most vulnerable across Southeast Texas communities.

We've experienced unmatched dedication from our fellow Southeast Texans and are starstruck by the inclusivity shown to all causes. No one walks this path alone, and we are eagerly waiting to walk with you this year — impacting nonprofits in Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange counties one step at a time.

10. Philanthropy gets results.

 The proof of philanthropy lies in the results of nonprofit work and the communities they support. In 2022, the Foundation gifted more than $175,000 to local nonprofits.

At the Foundation, we centralize the needs of the nonprofit organizations near you so that you can look to us as a local guide. Put simply, we connect people with the causes they care about.

Things that sound too good to be true usually are — but with philanthropy, it’s hard to find a downside. Giving back, no matter how large or small the gift, is one of the best ways you can love this community of ours. Join the Foundation's mission. One gift lasts a lifetime. A legacy that breathes happiness, love, and value into Southeast Texas awaits you.