My Favorite Daily Cause

This entry to the One Post Challenge comes from Tracy Gary. Tracy is the author of Inspired Philanthropy: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy. She has been a donor activist and philanthropist for more than 25 years. She has appeared on Oprah Winfrey, The Today Show and the New York Times as well as many other media outlets.

By Tracy Gary

Changing the conversation from “Where do you work?” to “What do you care about, and do you use your money and time for the public good?”, is my favorite daily cause.

When I sit on planes, buses and rails to get to my destination, inspiration or “bridging the great divide” simply manifests that way. Take the story of my trip from San Francisco to New York. When I share my love of giving and the importance of each of us giving more and more strategically, inevitably I have an interesting exchange. Try it, I say, and let’s get out of the same old ways.

One of my seat partners on a bounced up first class Continental flight, was a worn out Silicon Valley, twenty something, who had dropped out of Stanford to toss in his software skills for the almighty buck. Six years later, at age 25, he was spent. Exhausted and without the slightest work-home-community, balance. Half way to NY, after hearing me share the people who excited me in our same community, he was committed to joining a nonprofit board and going to do some selfless service to get his soul back. And you know what…he joined Edgewood Children’s Home’s board as the youngest team member and sent me $1000 as a gift to pass on. Changed his life he said!

When he emailed six months later to get some help with his marriage on our next trip to New York…my answer was easy…”Join TV Free America,” I said. Now I’m not Dr. Ruth, but taking the TV out of your bedroom and putting in some serious play time is good for the best of us. Imagine my delight when I hear his next call. We grow great donors at Inspired Legacies, and the work of it is the pleasure of change making the culture. May we shape the society we long to live for and with. Thanks for the inspiration, Sean. But pass on your enticement, or pay it forward, with our buy one and give one free offer, for Inspired Philanthropy. You might for that $500 enable 20 new donors to get into transformational giving! Hey, there’s a story of gratitude on the horizon. Catch it! Meanwhile, I’m off to my next plane ride.

-Tracy Gary, jet sitter with the “to be inspired”…


  1. phil says:

    “What do you care about?” “Where do you give or volunteer?” In the South, in certain circles, the questions are, “Where do you go to Church?” And, “What did your Daddy do?” In the North, in certain circles, it is, “What do you do? Where did you go to school?” Interesting to see what “framework” people use in defining their identity. “What do you do for love?” That might open some conversations, or get you tossed off the plane.

  2. By Tracy Gary

    Changing the conversation from “Where do you work?” to “What do you care about, and do you use your money and time for the public good?”, is my favorite daily cause.

    I’m with you Tracy on the face to face helping the one your with. It stems from my feeling that now is the time to come to the aid of our country. Misanthropy is often the direct product of many non-profits, in part because they are not a peer of the target population. Your changing the conversation does seem to head directly into a path of peer relationship leading to philanthopy not misanthropy.

    You have changed my conversation – Thank You