I have a confession to make ~ I LOVE sports. Like millions of Americans, I can be found enthusiastically watching a football game or basketball game on a Sunday afternoon. And let me tell you - I can really get into a game. If you think about it, being a sports fan and being a part of a community like ours have a lot of similarities.
When your favorite sports team wins, do you say “Such and such team won?” Perhaps you find yourself gleefully announcing “WE won!!” When we exclaim that “we won,” we are fully aware that the win was not the result of a specific play we made, or the coaching we offered up from our couch. However, we connect with the team. We care about the team. As a fan, we feel happy when they win, and upset when they lose. Their successes and failures become OUR successes and failures. But most importantly, we remain part of that team’s family.
Much to the dismay of many people in our office, I often use sports analogies to explain how I feel about something. The connection between being a sports fan and being happy, feeling fulfilled and part of a community is detailed in an article I read recently in the Huffington Post. I started to realize that my philanthropic priorities produce some of the same results.
From my early adulthood through the present I have been deeply committed to giving my time and money to the Jewish community. Two overwhelming outcomes have prevailed. I give because I want to be part of this family, to belong, to care about something meaningful as a community. Being part of my Jewish family has always been a priority and when I give I feel even more connected. Attending events and activities in the community only reinforce my sense of belonging.
Secondly, the stories of how my contributions benefit individuals provide a continual sense of fulfilment. I feel good about giving money. This sense of fulfillment and recognition of its impact was at the heart of a recent important sports event. The 2017 “Sportsman of the Year” was announced by Sports Illustrated. One of the recipients was hailed a hero even though his biggest accomplishment was off the field in a year when due to injury he only had the chance to play a few games.
In the article about Houston Texans Defensive Back J.J. Watt it was clear that his biggest contribution was giving the Houston Strong effort a huge boost of financial and emotional support. I read about the amount raised and all I felt was the same pride that he did. J.J. Watt’s original goal was $200,000 and the effort produced over $37 million. Additionally, I cried every time I heard about the smallest of gifts and how everyone got on board.
Each person’s contribution ~ from $5 million to just pennies ~ was of equal importance and the same can be said here in Dayton. We are all one family and anything you do to participate with your time or resources matters.
Thank you to all of you who are part of this wonderful family.