Financial giving can be a spiritual path. We have a deep potential for meaning-making and life satisfaction when we transform ourselves from occasional, haphazard donors to deliberate, ambitious philanthropists. With easy-to-read guidance, The Generosity Path sheds new light on our finances—connecting money to our values, beliefs, and loves and promoting skills and strategies in charitable giving. Starting from a very personal place, Ewert helps readers to find clarity in their own experience and then focus on their areas of passion to build a plan of action. Inspiring personal stories help demonstrate the development of financial generosity, the challenges involved, and the deeper benefits we all might expect from being more intentional with our giving. Creative tools for reflection and practice guide readers' progress. This practical yet wise volume also features information about collective giving in a community setting, family, or giving circle. Ideal for religious and civic organizations, The Generosity Path includes a discussion guide for group use.
The concept of generosity presented here includes giving and receiving. Sometimes when something is given skillfully from one person to another, it is hard to distinguish who gains the most—giver or receiver. For this reason, throughout the book they are sometimes hard to separate. Giving sheds light on being a recipient; receiving informs being a giver. Through these interactions, they encourage and fuel each other.
Everyone is generous in her or his own way. . . . Sometimes this is only in small or specific instances, yet one might also boldly commit to it every day with every resource available. Aren't you already generous? Hasn't there been a time when you cared for someone who was sick, nurtured a young person, or benefited someone without them knowing it? Maybe you do not think of yourself as generous because, like all of us, you are sometimes impatient or do not share what you have when you could, or your idea of what constitutes generosity is too grand to reach. Most people give without a long-range intention or a giving plan to follow. But when someone is in need and they are able to give, they do. And when they are asked to give financially to a nonprofit organization doing important work or to their religious community, they do if they can.
Compose a letter as if you were sending it to someone, but write it to your current self from the perspective of you five years in the future. In this letter "from the future," tell what your life is like and how you are living as a more intentionally generous person. What do you do? With whom do you spend time? Who benefits from your generosity and how? What effect is your generosity having? This is a future vision of your generosity. At the end of your letter, take a few minutes and make notes of how you will know that you reached your vision. What indicators will you have that you have become the person you had hoped? Now keep the letter in your journal so you can review it in the future. It may give you a picture of where you have been.
Table Of Contents:
1  Starting Where You Are
2  The Generous Receiver
3  Learning Generosity and Guiding Others
4  Generosity as a Practice
5  Risks and Barriers
6  Developing and Sustaining the Giver
7  Communities of Generosity
8  Giving Skillfully
9  Solidarity, Justice Giving, and Interdependence
For Further Reading
Small Group Discussion Guide
Mark Ewert has written The Generosity Path with an abundance of kindness and grace. It is one of those rare books that creates a shared journey between the author and his readers. We never feel alone as Ewert explores the underlying currents that connect charitable giving to living out a set of values and beliefs, while we develop an intentional spiritual practice.
Ewert provides a framework for readers to free themselves of unreasonable fears about poverty and from unrealistic fantasies about wealth. He awakens the slumbering philanthropist in us by providing tools to help us become part of a generous community. He reflects on ways in which we are already generous and helps us find ways to expand our generosity, no matter our life circumstances.
The Generosity Path has earned a spot at the top of my recommended list of spiritual stewardship resources. I will purchase multiple copies while recommending it to both individuals and communities of practice. This book is for everyone who has the desire to become intentionally generous amidst a quagmire of consumerism.
—Wayne B. Clark, author of Beyond Fundraising
Giving is a sacred act. It situates the giver and the recipient in moral and spiritual traditions that stretch back thousands of years. Working from this premise gives Mark Ewert's account of generosity a depth that many others lack. And though he doesn't shrink from discussing the more technical and practical aspects of giving, these never overwhelm what is essentially a beautiful act that has meanings far beyond those understood by donor and recipient. These acts of generosity have remade our world and have the promise of making it even better.
I'm especially grateful for the care that Ewert takes to embed generosity in the daily round, in the concrete give and take of everyday decisions, in the time we give ourselves to stop and reflect. Each chapter provides practical exercises to help one or another aspect of generosity come alive. These exercises include a Generosity Self-Assessment, journaling suggestions, and other practices that help transform giving from an object of study to a way of thinking and being.
—G. Albert Ruesga, president & CEO, Greater New Orleans Foundation
This book shows that being a philanthropist is often more connected to a way of thinking than it is to simply being wealthy. It offers concrete and easy-to-implement steps to make the mindset shift from being a donor to becoming a philanthropist.
—Phyllis R. Caldwell, former president, Washington Area Women's Foundation
Mark Ewert's The Generosity Path walks readers through a process of creating purpose in their lives. The activities and journaling suggestions that end each chapter provide welcome opportunities for readers to take steps along the generosity path with Mark at their side. If generosity is about being authentically present with other people and leveraging the fellowship of community, then Mark has given his readers a real gift through the personal experience and curated stories he shares so eloquently here in this book.
—David Greene, Vice President, Bernstein Global Wealth Management, and Author, Dollars and Sense: Ten Fundamentals of Financial Success