Generosity is not a byproduct of wealth. It is a way of life; it is something ingrained in you since childhood.
I have watched Columbia University’s Annual Giving Day in awe every year since its inception in the fall of 2012. What started out as 5000 contributions adding up to 6.8 million dollars in 2012 over a 24 hour period has been breaking its own record for the past four years. Yesterday’s new record was set by 13,090 people contributing $12,788,367 from all over the world!
I always knew – even as a child growing up in India that America was a generous nation. I’ll never forget the little rosary I received in a tiny box wrapped in simple white paper bound by a lovely ribbon. I had just received an unexpected gift from a total stranger – an American woman – on a cold Christmas night in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. We had sung our hearts out for Midnight mass and were jubilant about the pleasant products of our own voices and out of the blue this gorgeous kind woman started to distribute presents. It left a lasting impression on me that night.
I grew up in a household of very generous parents each sharing their generosity in different ways. My mom frequently ignored her own needs to address the needs of others’ and my dad would go out of his way and invite total strangers into our home; the unexpected guests ranged anywhere from a random tourist to the entire Kerala football team. The concept of generosity is no stranger to me. However, I continue to be amazed by the extent of generosity that I see around me in this amazing nation, which brought me to the question – Is America the most generous nation?
Apparently, it shares the top spot with Myanmar according to the World Giving index an annual report published by the Charities Aid Foundation. How can two countries with such radically different financial abilities share the top spot in “Most generous nations”? I invite you to read up more on the countless articles published on the subject. This brings me to my initial point; Generosity is an ingrained quality. It has nothing to do with the wealth you possess. It is a mindset and a way of life.
I predict the Annual Giving Day at Columbia University will continue to break records in the future, not because of the combined wealth they possess but because of its culture.