As we enter Thanksgiving week and the time of Christmas and year-end giving, I want to give a shout-out to a new blog started by Illinois Law Prof Suja Thomas and her husband Scott Bahr, The Give Blog: Conscious Living and Giving. From their mission statement:
We’re doing this blog to motivate ourselves and others to give away more money to charitable causes. ... With this blog, we are writing about how we can, on a daily basis, live our lives in such a way to enable us to give more. We believe that if we think more consciously about each monetary decision we make, we are less likely to spend money on things that we don’t need and more likely to give money away to people in need.
In our lives, we have been looking for the next thing to make us happy – a new bike, a new shirt, going to the movies, going out to eat, cable, or the next vacation. Regardless of our religious beliefs or non-beliefs, we have discovered that we obtain the most fulfillment in our lives, from looking beyond these daily cravings to what our money can do for people who are truly in need.
When we think about spending any money, we now ask ourselves whether it is something we really need or instead is something we can do without. When we spend less money, it is easier to give away money.
To celebrate the launch of their blog (and to continue to put their money where their mouths are), Suja and Scott plan to give away $50,000 by the end of 2009 to five charities – The Hunger Project, The Grameen Foundation, Safe Passage, Catholic Charities USA, and the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. Beginning today through December 24, they will match contributions of up to $100 from new donors to these charities, to a total of $10,000 to each charity. As a result, the charities stand to receive a total of $100,000 ($50,000 from Suja and Scott, and $50,000 from their readers).
I previously wrote that Suja "has challenged me in many ways over the years and, although it has not always been comfortable, I have grown as a result of knowing her." (Indeed, Proverbs 27:17 comes alive for me whenever I am with her.) With her new blog and her example, Suja is challenging me to re-think how I live and give. One of the odd things about the spiritual journey that my wife and I have been on the past fourteen years is that the more we give each year, the greater is our gnawing sense that we should be doing more. So we've answered Suja and Scott's challenge by contributing to their charities. I encourage you to consider doing so as well.