Tag Archives: Philanthropy

me? a do-gooder?!

24 May

“You are a do-gooder, Livia.”  A friend said this to me the other day.  I have to admit that I was nothing less than shocked to hear these words being uttered, particularly since it was evident that it was a completely genuine statement.

above: exhibits a & b…guilty!

“Hell, no!”  I immediately retorted, as if I had been deeply insulted by the (subjective) observation.  I kind of surprised myself at having such a knee-jerk reaction, and really had to step back for a second to try and judge the situation from afar.

OK.  So here I am, having spent most of my life identifying with what I guess is the East Coast in me: a realist, a cynic, a sarcastic and salty broad who never stops to speak to those poor canvassers looking for support on street corners- no time to talk about saving the whales, the children, or the environment.  It took me until just a couple of years ago to even fathom composting at home, and I still occasionally throw a banana peel in the trash can, if it’s an arm’s length closer.  I am guilty of assuming that at least some of the people living in their vans by Ocean Beach are probably doing so because it’s cool, and they likely go home every Christmas to a very wealthy family and a perfectly manicured lawn in Evanston, Illinois.  As bad as it sounds, I think these things sometimes.

However, for the past year I have been, for the most part, working for free.  I left behind a steady paycheck and a  full-time job to do this.  Aside from the non-profit I helped launch, I have been assisting various other local organizations in any way I could- utilizing my background in PR or planning events, tending bar or working the door at fundraisers, recruiting volunteers, and generally adding an additional voice to these little known groups, for no other reason I can think of than this: something about each one of their missions compelled me to do so.  Abuse, illiteracy, inequality, lack of resources; these things bother me, and I admire the people who spend their lives trying to change them.  I’d like to lend those people a hand.  So I guess in other words: I (cringe) care.

It occurred to me in that moment that for the first time in my entire life, I  have to come clean and admit it, no matter how much I can’t seem to identify with the notion:

Lately, I’ve sort of become a “do-gooder”.