From The Publisher

BeverlyDenver thumb thumbPhilanthropy

I am not exactly sure how old I was when I first heard the word “philanthropy” or understood exactly what it meant. Most likely, I was older than I should have been.

But, that’s OK. My mother, God bless her soul, knew a whole lot about it. By example, she showed my sisters and me what doing for others is all about and how even small gestures can positively impact an entire community.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my mother was never able to write checks large enough to fund the construction of a new hospital or purchase an expensive table at a gala; however, it seemed she was always giving generously to others. She did this — day in and day out — in small, but meaningful, ways.

My mother was one of 10 children, raised on a farm in Arkansas. She grew up during the depression, and though food was never scarce, cash was. She knew what it was like not to be able to buy things. Fortunately, her parents were “philanthropists” too and taught her the value of “sharing what you do have.” My mother learned this lesson well and passed it on.

Often my mother would say, “We can always do something to help!”

My mother attended the same church for more than 50 years. She believed in tithing, and so she gave at least 10 percent of every dollar she ever earned to her church. At the same time, she engaged wholeheartedly with the other members of the congregation and supported the many activities of the church.

If there was a potluck social, my mother was one of the women in the church you could count on to bring a dish (or two or three). If a church member was ill, she was among the few who would re-arrange her plans to go visit her in the hospital. Considering my mother worked outside the home, and had my dad and us girls to deal with, that was not always easy. Still, she did it with delight.

Each year, when it was time for the Mothers March, it was always my mother who stepped forward to help the March of Dimes and its efforts to eradicate polio. She gave generously of her money – and her time and energy. She walked our neighborhood and encouraged others to give too!

Often my mother would say, “We are so blessed with good health. We must help others less fortunate.”

My mother retired from the workplace at the age of 62 and took up quilting (among other things). Always a gifted seamstress, my mother caught on quickly and before long became a talented quilter. Thus, she decided to make quilts for each of her three daughters. Being the oldest, I got the first one!

My mother kept a busy schedule in her retirement, but parts of each day were devoted to working on new quilts. By the time she passed, at the age or 81, she had created beautiful quilts for us girls, her six grandchildren and her first grandchild. Other quilts were also made – for dear friends and distant relatives who “begged” her to make quilts for them!

Today, those quilts are being used in homes all across the country, keeping people warm, reminding them of the enormous generosity of my mother — my all-time favorite and most beloved philanthropist.

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