Monday, April 26, 2010

How Much is Enough?

Jacki Zehner
A couple of weeks ago, one of my co-author's of Women and Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World, Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, sent a quick question asking what I would recommend for reading for a diverse group of high worth women who have formed an informal discussion group about the topic of philanthropy.  The women want to have a discussion on "how much is enough" - both to have and to give.  Here is an excerpt from our new book about this topic.
     "As for how much money is enough, Linda Basch, president of the National Council for Research on Women says, "For women it's not just the thrill of making money, it's the social purposes that the money can be used for.  What we've seen with some women in our research about women in fund management is that they have a sense of when they've made enough and they cash out."
     Basch points to Jacki Zehner as an example.  In 1996 Zehner was the youngest woman and the first female trader to be invited into the partnership of Goldman Sachs.  After leaving the firm in 2002 at the age of 35, and having done well, she is now committed to doing good through her philanthropy concerning the economic empowerment of women."
I sent Buffy's question out to some friends and the following represent their replies.  

From Anne Ellinger and Bolder Giving
  • Download (or order hard-copy) the Bolder Giving Workbook, which has quite a bit about "How Much Is Enough?".  Also, look through the "inspiring stories" section of, especially those with "simplicity" as the motivation.
  • More Than Money:  Scroll down the archives to issue #4 "How Much Is Enough?"
  • Vicki Robin's website, book, online articles and teleclasses: Your Money or Your Life.
  • Kathy LeMay's new book, The Generosity Plan.  
  • Kevin and Hannah Salwens book, The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back. 
Jacki Zehner from The Purse Pundit blog recommended:
  • Kathy LeMay's new book, The Generosity Plan
  • Tracy Gary's books, Inspired Legacies. 
Others that I would recommend:
  • Margaret May Damen and Niki McCuistion, Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation.
  • Lynn Twist's, The Soul of Money.
  • Charles W. Collier, Wealth in Families.
  • Joanna Krotz, The Guide to Intelligent Giving: Make a Difference in the World--and in Your Own Life.
  • Douglas M. Lawson, Give to Live: How Giving Can Change Your Life.
  • An older but very wise book is the late Claude Rosenberg, Jr's Wealthy and Wise, How You and America can get the Most our of Your Giving.
  • And finally, one that is sure to elicit ideas and dialogue is Amy A. Kass' book, The Perfect Gift: The Philanthropic Imagination in Poetry and Prose.
I surely hope that this list sparks more of these discussions among both women and men of all ages and wages and that you will add more to the list as well.  Perhaps if more of these discussions had gone on, there would be no reason for like limiting CEO pay or financial reform bills.  

I don't mean to leave anyone out but it does seem that athletes, music and film stars do have philanthropic role models but not so corporate executives.  Perhaps they don't get the same kind of attention with their philanthropy as a Bono, Madonna, Magic Johnson or Brad Pitt.  But perhaps it's also time for them to let us know what they are doing to make the world a better place.  Not just through their corporate contributions, but through their personal gifts as well.  Thank you Jacki Zehner for taking the time to step back and think through the question of how much is enough, and then becoming a strong philanthropist.  

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