Giving from a shared belonging, our generosity and giving is authentic. Pictured: Rocking the Boat, one of the Spring Bank Community Chest Partners

By Julie Fahnestock, our Director of Marketing and Storytelling

I recently watched an older video of Ram Dass, a famous spiritual guide and teacher, talk about “the spontaneous generosity of heart.” He speaks about the gift of giving to others—not because it’s the right thing or empathizing thing to do; not from a place of pity or duty. But because within each of us is a rich desire to give from our hearts. The common phrase “my heart goes out to you,” stems from a place of wanting to give ourselves to one another. Ram Dass explains that this is our true selves wanting to belong to one another. Through the art of giving, he says, we take a step toward a more compassionate heart and ultimately, a more generous society.

What would selfless generosity look like in our city? Imagine if we gave to one another from a shared belonging. As Lilla Watson, Aboriginal elder, activist and educator from Queensland, Australia said, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Collective liberation—from bias, from exploitation, exclusion, ego—is ours, but only if we stand for it together. What if this paradigm shaped the way we gave of our time, our talents—and even our finances to one another? What if we gave because we saw ourselves in one another?

It’s a challenging concept, to see myself as one with others; people with whom I may have zero common interests. But I wonder, if I could let go of “me” and embrace our collective “we,” I might just become a more loving, more generous human. I encourage us, that as we are asked to give our dollars at the end of 2017—so many organizations in need of financial support—that we consider our collective belonging and need for collective liberation. And in the case you’d like to support some fabulous, NYC-based organizations who generously give back to our community, check out our four Community Chest Partners which includes Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights; Bronx YMCA; Street Squash and Rocking the Boat.