Sarah Bain introduced me to her class on Monday by telling them I was her favorite philanthropist “by far”. I never think of myself as a philanthropist but as a survivalist. I feel so lucky to have a way to live without Susie, a way that respects her and is an expression of her joyful enthusiasm.
I guess I know in a way that I’m a philanthropist when I take that tax deduction for each tree donation but I think of that money as paying for a gift. And it is a gift to so many. I get the deduction because each $300 is a gift to Urban Forestry’s fund at The Lands Council. But it goes beyond that. First of all, it is a gift to me and Susie’s family. It is a gift of remembrance or comfort or celebration to those I give the tree to. It is a gift of a party to those who attend the planting. It is a gift of beauty to the city. And it is a gift of shade and clean air to the future. So many gifts from one donation.
And I push philanthropy. I can’t help but sell the idea of planting trees. My son says that I can find a really good and original reason why anyone should plant a tree. And I love helping people who want to plant a tree. I want to make every tree meaningful.
I guess that I am a philanthropist.