Tag Archive for Giving Back

Three Questions to Uncover your Passions

What inspires you to give back?

Most giving back results from a personal connection to a cause or group. ┬áIf you haven’t yet found the cause that drives you to learn more, do more, and tell more people about it, try asking yourself the following Three Questions:

  1. What organizations do you give credit for the person you have become?
  2. What activities bring you JOY that you want to make sure people in the future can do?
  3. When you travel (in your own neighborhood or around the world) what groups do you see that are treated unfairly or need extra help?

Yes, OK, I’ll share my answers to these questions:

  1. What organizations do you give credit for the person you have become?
    (Chronologically…) My church (the United Church of Christ), Boy Scouts, Harvard College, Stanford University, improv, and the Reuters Digital Vision Program.
  2. What activities bring you JOY that you want to make sure people in the future can do?
    Listening to jazz, watching live theater, walking in nature, snorkeling.
  3. When you travel (in your own neighborhood or around the world) what groups do you see that are treated unfairly or need extra help?
    Those suffering from poverty, homelessness, and disasters. Women and girls, especially in the developing world, but in America, too. Cancer patients and their families. Torture victims.

These answers are a pretty good reflection of how I focus my giving back.

Volunteering:

  • I volunteer quite a bit with my church, especially around Peace and Justice issues and our connection to Stanford University.

  • I spent a year in the Reuters Digital Vision Program volunteering with the Grameen Foundation on a project to improve access to microcredit (small loans to women entrepreneurs in the developing world) through software.
  • I view my performances with an improv troupe as giving back (we aren’t paid, and all of the ticket proceeds go to scholarships).

Donating:

  • I make financial gifts to support my church, poverty alleviation and disaster relief efforts, Harvard, the environment, medical research and jazz (in roughly that order).

  • Being an active audience member, seeking out rising jazz talent (attending and tipping!) helps preserve that community.
  • I’ve set up a living trust that will, upon my death, distribute the bulk of my estate to some of the organizations and causes listed here. (Watch for a future blog post on this important topic….)

The Three Questions were the seed that germinated into the book Giving Back. I started trying them out on people in December 2010, and here are some answers that were shared back then.
I invite you to consider your answers, and would love to hear about them, in the comments if you feel like sharing globally, or in email or conversation if that’s more comfortable.

What organizations do you give credit for the person you have become?  What activities bring you JOY that you want to be sure people in the future can do?  When you travel (in your own neighborhood or around the world) what groups do you see that are treated unfairly or need extra help?

The Three Questions as posed to Lisa Chu's Essential Self Extravaganza (Dec 2010)