October 10, 2019

Mini-Musings: Why Do I Give?

by Jen Voros

I spend a lot of time thinking about philanthropy. It’s my job. And every time someone chooses to make a gift to our School, I am amazed at this uniquely human phenomenon. There seems to be something inexplicably satisfying about giving back to the world around us.

Research has shown that giving to others makes humans far happier than receiving. For example, Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School, conducted a study that questioned 632 Americans about their level of income and what they spend their money on. They were also asked to simultaneously rate their own happiness. Norton found that, regardless of income, those who spent money on others were decidedly happier than those who spent more on themselves. Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, saw similar results when she asked people to perform five acts of kindness each week for six weeks.


These good feelings can also be reflected in our biology. Jorge Moll and his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found that when people give, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, connection, and trust, creating what they call a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”


In addition to making us feel happier, giving is also: good for our health, promotes social connection and cooperation, evokes gratitude in the giver, and has a ripple effect in our communities.

So, why do you give? Is it the warm feelings? Is it the ripple effect in our community? Is it the desire to help others?

I give because I see the impact giving makes in our community every day – in our classrooms, in the lunchroom, and on the playground. Giving to McGillis ensures that incredible and inspiring events are the norm. Giving ensures that the McGillis “magic” that fills our spaces transforms the lives of our students – past, present, and future.

You see, giving to McGillis is an investment that pays dividends today and tomorrow. Last year, I had the opportunity to meet Cole Jackman, Class of 2012. Cole was a student who attended McGillis thanks to the generosity of our community. The financial assistance his family received made his McGillis experience possible, and he’s grateful for all the ways McGillis shaped him into the young man he is today. If you haven’t already, please watch this short video of Cole describing the impact financial assistance had on his experience.

In addition to supporting our inspiring faculty and our unique program, gifts to the Annual Fund also support students like Cole. This year, 25% of students attending McGillis have been awarded some form of financial assistance. Community support of the Annual Fund and our Financial Assistance Program demonstrates our commitment to a diverse, inclusive, and accessible community.

I invite you to join me in making a gift to the Annual Fund if you have not already done so. Whether it is to honor our teachers, support our program, or provide access to students like Cole, your gift makes a powerful statement about your commitment to our Kehilah. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself benefiting from a big dose of happiness in the process.

Donate Today!