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Experiencing the Power of Philanthropy

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A family retreat can be a great opportunity to initiate clients into the power of philanthropy. Perry Cochell and Rod Zeeb, co-founders of the Heritage Institute in Portland, Oregon, once brought out a 12-pound box of chocolates at a retreat and passed the box around to all the family members. On the first go-round, everyone took a few chocolates. On the second pass, some people took one or two more. When it went around a third and a fourth time, no one took any. There were still 10 lbs. of chocolates left in the box, so Perry and Rod called over a woman who was refilling the coffee urn. They found out her name, inquired whether she had kids (she had four), and asked if she would like to take the remaining chocolates home to them. Her face lit up as she said she would love to, and they gave her the box.

After she left, Zeeb and Cochell asked the family members whether they had gotten more pleasure from eating the chocolates, or from giving the woman the box to take home to her family. Virtually everyone said that giving it away was more pleasurable. This idea is a lovely way to introduce philanthropy to a group of people of all ages.