For Goodness Sake

“Philanthropy is not always the reason good deeds are done.”

Photo by Charl Van Rooy

By John Dunia

In last week’s article, I discussed how at times there are other factors that can influence our motivations. It is even possible there are moments when people don’t assess them too closely in case problematic motives may be revealed.

Everyone aspires for his or her actions to be interpreted as altruistic; however, being magnanimous may be shaky grounds for an excuse to further one’s own agenda and bottom line. Too often, under the guise of being philanthropic, “gifts” are given with an underlying expectation of a return; which ultimately changes the word “guise” to something more like a disguise.

If you have been one of those fortunate enough to give substantial sums to charity and freely do so, you ought to be commended for those efforts. No doubt your generosity has helped hundreds if not thousands of struggling and sometimes hopeless individuals.

The term “philanthropy” is now frequently used and many proclaim that title as a badge of honor. Although no one would doubt the importance of contributing to worthy causes, there are times when good deeds have had other, not-so-good intentions or consequences.

When was the last time you gave anything and expected nothing in return? If you were to give money to someone in desperate need and weren’t acknowledged, would that somehow change the potential of your gift? The act of giving shows more about us and our intentions even more than the size or type of gift we gave.

Charitable giving has become such an integral part of society that laws have been passed to make it tax deductible. However, if the tax benefits were to become greatly reduced, how drastically would that affect your generosity?

I’ll be the first to admit that for much of my adult life, I was rather, well, stingy is quite frankly how it ought to be described. Thankfully, when I went through my stage of personal growth, I learned the importance of a compassionate and giving heart; not for the sake of receiving something in return but for demonstrating good intent toward my fellow human beings. We have all heard the saying about giving and receiving but if the odds were against getting anything in return, should that diminish our capacity as a kind and generous person?

What is even more troublesome is that many will circumvent charitable tax laws and manipulate them for their own gain. Others will make large donations to organizations only if the money is spent according to their demands; even to the point where that donation ends up completely back in their own pockets.

While there is nothing theoretically wrong with getting the most out of charitable contributions, let’s continue to examine the motivations for our generosity. You may find that a simple gesture can do someone a World of Good!

My thanks to Charl Van Rooy for the beautiful photograph. I look forward to your comments.

Since 2007, John Dunia has written for many local Las Vegas publications. In 2013, he began blogging and sharing his thoughts on overcoming adversities with his unique approach in assisting the reader towards better self-awareness. In 2015 he completed his first self-help-style book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based Thinking” which was a semi-autobiographical account of how he overcame and heal difficulties from his past. It inspired him to branch out in other directions. He now consults with people one-on-one to help them find their own breakthroughs. He also is a guest speaker on the topic of shame and effective ways to heal. To find out more, visit

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