Golden Ladder of Giving

Met with Steve Friece this week.  He is Executive Director of Crossroads Community Development.  He is on the cutting edge of human services, especially to the “poor”.  We had an excellent discussion on the difference between “charity” and “philanthropy”.  Charity is for emergencies and crises.  It often treats symptoms w/out looking deeper to the true causes of the individual recipient’s situation. 

For Steve, and for me, Philanthropy is a higher form of engagement – the purpose is to enhance the lives of others so that they are transformed from “recipient” to “participant” in society.  The recognition of each individual’s dignity and showing genuine, authentic love of those people are at the heart of Philanthropy.  It is a long-term proposition that focuses on providing the receipient tools, knowledge, understanding, and even tough love to so that he/she never has to go begging again.

Take a look at this commonly known set of “giving” levels (below).  In this day and age, a non-profit’s donors and potential donors can fall into all of these categories.  Those that are on the highest level of giving are interested in making a social investment, not just writing a check to “feel good”.  Because those donors are looking to make a fundamental impact on the community, their gifts are often the most significant in terms of amount and on-going commitment.  That is why these posts have focused on the paradigm shift in giving.

As an organization “moves” donors up that ladder, they are alble to fulfill their mission in a more significant way.  They can build capacity and make true change in the conditions of those they serve. In the end, both the recipient of the services and the donors benefit.  This is accomplished through  a purposeful, intentional planned giving program.

Even small organizations can benefit from having a planned giving program that funds a long-term sustainable organization that enhances all lives and makes connections between people in the community. For more information, contact Laura to discuss how you can accomplish this. 

After reading this list – please post comments. Want to hear what you have to say about Charity and Philanthropy.


The Golden Ladder of Giving
By Maimonides

1. To give reluctantly, the gift of the hand, but not of the heart.

2. To give cheerfully, but not in proportion to need.

3. To give cheerfully and proportionately, but not until solicited.

4. To give cheerfully, proportionately, and unsolicited, but to put the gift into the poor person’s hand, thus creating shame.

5. To give in such a way that the distressed may know their benefactor, without being known to him or her.

6. To know the objects of our bounty, but remain unknown to them.

7. To give so that the benefactor may not know those whom he has relieved, and they shall not know him.

8. To prevent poverty by teaching a trade, setting a person up in business, or in some other way preventing the need of charity.

About the Author – Maimonides (1135 -1204)
During the Middle Ages he was a Jewish rabbi, physician and philosopher in Egypt.


Posted on March 12, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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