Beyond the Helper’s High

We all know that giving back feels good, but did you know that it’s actually good for you?

The warm glow that most people feel from giving back actually has a name – the “helpers high.” Indeed, volunteering, donating and offering emotional support to others not only helps those on the receiving end, they have also all been shown to boost the mental and physical health of the giver.

Good for your mental health

Those who volunteer have greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. Older volunteers were especially likely see the mental health benefits from volunteering. Many researchers conclude that this is because volunteering provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose (at a time in their lives where they otherwise might not have this).

Those who spend their money on others report more overall happiness than people who spend money on themselves. In fact, when the subjects of one study donated their money to a worthy cause, the reward system of the brain lit up. Perhaps our brains were actually wired for altruism?

Good for your physical health

However, it’s not just our brains that benefit from helping others. Studies have found that those who give to others have lower blood pressure, lower stress levels and live longer. Doing physical volunteer work increases the amount of physical activity a person is doing, which has numerous benefits for a person with an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Working with animals has the added benefit of improving mood while reducing stress and anxiety. So bonus points if you volunteer at an animal shelter!

As it turns out, the feeling of “getting more out of it than you give” may not just be a feeling when it comes to giving back. Donating your time and/or money are great ways to improve both your health and the lives of others.

 

Dallas Dinner Table

On January 16th I was one of about 600 people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who were intentionally talking about race relations in Dallas around a stranger’s dinner table.

Dallas Dinner Table is a series of dinners on the evening of Martin Luther King Jr. Day that convenes diverse groups of people, who wouldn’t normally sit down to a meal together, to talk about difficult issues around race relations in Dallas. The dinners happen all over DFW at churches, restaurants and peoples’ homes. With the topic of race relations and equity on many people’s minds right now, this event couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. Continue reading “Dallas Dinner Table”

Educate Texas’ Singapore trip

Educate Texas, through a privately funded grant, recently hosted a delegation of Texas leaders on a learning tour to Singapore, which is regarded as one of the best educational systems in the world. The goal of the week-long excursion was for these Texans to examine and carry back the innovative best practices and ideas to continue to lead, develop and improve Texas’ public education system.

George Tang, managing director of Educate Texas, sat down to tell us some of the things they brought back from Singapore.

Why go halfway around the globe, to Singapore, to explore education?

Continue reading “Educate Texas’ Singapore trip”

Apply to be in the Giving Guide

Each year Communities Foundation of Texas carefully reviews hundreds of nonprofit requests and summarizes recommended projects for our Giving Guide. CFT’s Giving Guide is an online and print resource used by our donors and the community-at-large to make decisions on funding charitable organizations. The Giving Guide becomes a key tool for our donors and their families to use when making decisions on how to make an impact locally. The CFT team uses the Giving Guide to assist donors in narrowing down the thousands of nonprofits in North Texas and finding organizations whose impact areas align with the donor’s focus areas. Continue reading “Apply to be in the Giving Guide”

We’re Here to Talk

With limited resources, we all have to make choices on what to support. Simplifying the giving process is what Communities Foundation of Texas is all about.

At Communities Foundation of Texas, we have giving experts who will sit down with your family or business to talk about your giving goals and help you maximize your giving.  We are happy to help you, just give us a call today and we can set up a free, confidential consultation.

You go to a doctor for medical advice, a lawyer for legal advice, an accountant for tax advice…why not a charitable giving expert for giving advice? That’s why we’re here! We’ll help you navigate the many solicitations you get in the mail and the many ways to help locally, across the nation and beyond—to step back and really make a plan.

Many people want to consider how they will best situate their family as well as how they want to improve the community and leave a legacy. We’ll work together to find the right path for you.

A lot of people work with us all year long, not just at year-end.

We’re here for you and can talk confidentially about your ideas. Contact us today to get started with your giving plan.

Know yourself, know your giving

With so many amazing causes requesting donations, how are you supposed to choose? When saying yes to one means saying no to so many others, how are you supposed to decide? When you know what matters most to you, it’s easier to know which causes you want to support.

While it may not seem like all of these questions are relevant to your charitable giving style, being able to answer them will help better define what’s important to you. And that’s the first step in identifying what you want your charitable legacy to be. Continue reading “Know yourself, know your giving”

2016 Year In Review

What a year!

2016 has been a big year for Communities Foundation of Texas! We had a record-breaking North Texas Giving Day, once again helping pump millions of dollars into the nonprofits of our area. We’ve had talks given by nationally-recognized financial experts and an NPR science correspondent.

Between Freedom Day, our annual Family Service Project and year-round volunteer projects, CFT and partner companies have given over 6300 volunteer hours back to the community.

Continue reading “2016 Year In Review”

Are You Giving Wisely?

Think critically about how and why you give

CFT’s GiveWisely series was created as a way to assist donors in developing their own approach to their personal philanthropy—by thinking strategically and learning from a group of like-minded peers.

GiveWisely offers participants an opportunity to look deeper into what motivates them to give, so they leave the class with a clearer idea of which issues they want to support, the knowledge of how they can go about doing so, and the ability to say “yes” or “no” powerfully, depending on whether an opportunity is aligned with their own focus. Continue reading “Are You Giving Wisely?”

Are you the drop of water that will change the tide?

On December 15th, Communities Foundation of Texas was lucky enough to host a talk by Shankar Ventantam, NPR’s social science correspondent and the host of the Hidden Brain podcast. His talk, Hidden Bias, Hidden Harm, was about unconscious bias and its effects on us as individuals and as a community. Unconscious biases are biases that we are unaware of and which happen outside of our control, and usually, our knowledge.

Shankar said that most people, when they think about bias, think of overt racism, sexism, or homophobia. These are conscious biases – those that have a big effect, that you can point to how they clearly favor one kind of person over another. By contrast, the role of unconscious bias seems very mundane suggests Shankar. However, he argues, these are the biases of which we should be most concerned. Continue reading “Are you the drop of water that will change the tide?”