On Gratitude, For Thanksgiving, by Gioia Perugini

What can I do to help? It’s a familiar refrain, sometimes expressed to a neighbor going through a difficult time, or to a colleague at work, or in the face of a natural disaster. It’s a question we hear all the time when advising clients on their philanthropy. Whether the topic is hunger or climate change, donors want to know how to translate a pressing but broad concern into specific, effective giving.

This takes many shapes and sizes. If you are REI and your corporate social values are a commitment to the environment and a vibrant workforce, you take the bold move of closing your retail stores on Black Friday, so that the majority of employees get a paid day off, along with launching a campaign that encourages customers to go outside instead of shopping.

If, like many of us, you are shocked and saddened by violence in the world, experienced in the recent bombings in Paris but certainly not limited to that city alone, you make a commitment to furthering peace, tolerance, understanding and justice, locally or globally or maybe both. If you see someone struggling to meet their basic needs, you might support your local food pantry, homeless shelter or community foundation to provide immediate relief, while working toward more long term or prevention oriented strategies. You match your passion and interest with a cause or organization that matters to you. This doesn’t’ need to be restricted to gifts of cash, and can help to guide how you spend your volunteer time, too.

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday gives us all a chance to pause and reflect on what we are grateful for, and what we can do to help others. Families across the country will travel by plane, train and automobile this week to gather together and give thanks. Why not use the time to discuss the concerns you share, the values you hold and the ways in which you can mobilize those values into your year-end giving? Let’s translate gratitude into action. And after the turkey is digested, Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving, is the first of many opportunities throughout the holiday season to turn values into action and do what you can to help. Let that propel you into a season of giving, gratitude and satisfaction.

This advisory is provided solely for information purposes and should not be construed as legal advice with respect to any particular situation. This advisory is not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. You should consult your legal counsel regarding your situation and any specific legal questions you may have.

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