Thoughts on Philanthropy

Last week I spoke before a Philanthropy class at Whitworth University. While preparing for it I got lots of insights into The Susie Forest and my motives for devoting so much of my time and energy to it.

First of all, the giving part: I do donate enough money to plant 10 trees a year in Spokane city and county. This gives those governments more trees to plant than their budgets allow.  After planting a tree on the anniversary of Susie’s death and on her birthday, I have eight more trees and so I am giving those trees a second time to a group, a person or an event.

What I get back: These are not altruistic donations because I receive so much more than I give. First of all, I keep Susie’s name and influence out there in the world where she should BE! Secondly, I get this wonderful feeling as I help people find personal meaning in the trees we plant together. Thirdly, I meet the most wonderful people. Fourthly, Susie’s death has forced me to grow so much, so much that I can speak in front of classes and groups. And lastly, I get the most wonderful high every time a tree is planted and I want to keep planting trees so that I don’t have to come down.

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