I have taken a step back the last few months and have been thinking a lot about humanity; not humanity on a global scale but humanity in our own backyard, within our own community. It could be in my professional community, my personal, friends, or family. They all encompass what we would consider our community.
The dictionary defines humanity in three ways, one being “the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence”. And yet, call me cynical, not everyone who is human is humane. I think it takes a lot for people to be humane in typical circumstances, never mind in circumstances that require understanding, patience, compassion, grace.
And this brings me to the word philanthropy. Many of you may know, I am the host of a show on AM650 called The Backyard Philanthropist. There is an assumption or a misunderstanding, that the show is about money. It isn’t…
It is about loving humanity in our own backyard. Relying once again on the origin of a word, philanthropy is actually defined as ‘for the love of humanity’.
Up until a few months ago, I really lived behind rose colored glasses. It didn’t matter if you made mistakes, or weren’t perfect because, well, we are human. We are ALL human. God knows, I have two out of three children with disabilities, I am well versed in an alternative ‘perfection’.
And when we make mistakes, or someone makes a mistake, errs, shows imperfection, we show compassion, grace, patience. We act humane. We do not assume, turn our backs, judge.
On the backyard philanthropist, I am fortunate to talk with many people who are humane. Who give of themselves in ways that go far beyond grace. Not because they have to, but because they want to, choose to.
I’ve talked to people who help teens and young adults transition from the foster system, like Gale from Aunt Leah’s. I have met inspiring story tellers like Cathie Borrie, who shares her mother’s Alzheimer’s journey in The Long Hello. Or Tradeworks Society, that supports women entering the trades to procure better employment, a better future.
Or maybe it is corporate citizens like Bryan, the CEO of Science World, who excitedly leads his team in building community around science and technology. The likes of Peter, the CEO of SPUD, who is passionate about food, where it comes from, and wants every home to experience the same.
After several months of loosing faith in humanity, it is the people who remain, who stand here and are humane despite adversity, that inspire me to dig out my rose colored glasses. They sit precariously on my bedside table and maybe, just maybe, one of these days soon, I will be able to place them back on.