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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    The Giving Challenge


    What would you do with $4.5 billion? Most people would start with a list of how they’d invest it and what they’d purchase.  But John and Laura Arnold have decided to give it away. John began his career as a successful natural gas trader at Enron. He left before it went bankrupt, and founded a hedge fund. He’s known as an introvert, very smart and low key, but diligent in his research of every detail around his oil investments. His ability to correctly anticipate gas and commodities prices paid off handsomely so that in October 2012, a few years shy of age 40, he closed his fund and retired.

    He and Laura, a Yale grad and former corporate attorney, then focused their energy on the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, with the vision of giving money where it can produce the most good. For example, they’re funding projects that could make a difference in criminal justice sentencing guidelines, or how our bodies process food which could impact how obesity is treated.

    The Arnold’s know that some of their projects will fail, but they’re betting on the upside risk that some will be a big success and will positively impact society.  Young Man with money in one hand outstretched to give it away, and money in the other handTheir style of “high impact philanthropy” is increasing among the super wealthy. Rather than simply writing a check to the many existing worthy causes, they’re looking for opportunities to fund social initiatives, eradicate societal ills and solve vexing problems. They want their money to have a long term effect.

    They also don’t believe in “dynastic wealth”, or giving the money to their three children, because they feel it’s important for them to learn to create wealth for themselves. They’ve seen too many examples of children who’ve made poor decisions with such an inheritance, and don’t want theirs to feel entitled. John and Laura also think it’s a mistake to believe that having more money makes children happier or more productive. They share the perspective of other billionaires like Warren Buffett that there’s no value in gifting large sums of money to their kids.


    While most of us can’t directly relate to building this level of wealth, much less giving it away, their story raises some questions that we can relate to.



    • Are you making money for what you can do with it, or for how you can help others? Even while the Arnolds were massing their fortune, they were talking to others about causes that they could fund. So as you’re making money are you thinking and talking about who you can help, or just what can you buy? Are you looking for opportunities to help others? Are you looking for meaningful causes that can benefit from your support?


    •  Do you believe your giving can make a difference in the lives of others? Maybe you don’t have “high impact” funds, but low impact is better than no impact.  If you’re able to help only one person and make a difference in their life, then it’s a worthwhile effort. You can pay it forward.


    •  Are you giving a gift that keeps on giving? Yes, there are times when many people need a “fish”, but at the same time they need someone to “teach them to fish”. So will your gift help better a life or a situation long term?


    •  Are you taking a risk with your giving? Philanthropists know that the organizations they give to won’t always be successful in their mission. There are risks involved, and the greater and more game changing the potential impact, the greater the potential risk. But sometimes those are the causes that need benefactors the most.
    • Do you investigate the credibility and effectiveness of the organizations that receive your money? In spite of the risks associated with various social initiatives, you should still scrutinize the organizations that receive your hard earned funds with the same degree of detail that you would scrutinize a potential investment decision. You do have a responsibility to ensure that you properly evaluate their track record of accomplishing their goals, and reaching the target market.


    •  Is your giving reactive or proactive? Requests for donations come from many sources.  There are appeals for support from robocalls during the dinner hour, panhandlers on the street, co-workers’ fundraising initiatives, church building drives, political campaigns, financially strapped friends, and educational institutions.  Many of these entreaties are for worthy causes, but every worthy cause isn’t the right cause for you. You are chief steward of your resources, and it’s important to proactively determine your giving priorities, and the circumstances under which you’ll respond to such requests instead of letting someone else determine them for you. This will provide the framework for you to appropriately respond when the time comes.


    So if you don’t have $4.5 billion, let’s start a little smaller.  What would you do with $450, or $4,500 or $45,000? What are your giving priorities? What organizations would you allocate it to? How would you use it to make an impact in the world around you? Spend some time pondering this, and as you do so, you’ll begin to find more meaning in your giving. You can make a difference at whatever level you are…..just give.


    Source articles from and


    The Gift That Keeps On Giving

    What do you give the person who seems to have everything? You give something that costs you little.

    What do you give the person who seems to have nothing? You give something that costs you much.

    That’s what Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and 65 other billionaires have decided to do. They’ve pledged to give half of their net worth to philanthropy.In June 2010, Buffet and Gates started the Giving Pledge where they challenge billionaires across the world to sign a pledge committing to give half of their money to charity during their lifetime. For Buffett, this focus on giving started when he was in his 20s studying wealthy industrialists such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J. P. Morgan, and their prolific giving to science, arts and culture. (See Wall Street Journal article for more info.) Now that Buffett has long been established as a billionaire, he is doing the same. He and others are using their wealth to make a difference in every area of life across the world.They are leveraging the fruit of their talents to impact the world.They’ve realized that after a certain point, wealth and riches mean nothing if you can’t use it to help others who may be less fortunate.


    Buffett and Gates’ initiative is admirable because they’ve made it a priority to lead others in giving. Specifically, they established themselves as ACEs, and you can do the same.

    Accountability – They challenged other billionaires to be accountable to each other on how they use their wealth. You can identify others who, like you, have an abundance of resources. This shouldn’t be hard, because like attracts like. The people who are your closest friends, with whom you have the most in common, probably have similar resources. Challenge them, hold them accountable to use those resources to make a difference in the lives of others who are less fortunate.

    Change – They believe that their wealth can create change for the good. What unfortunate situations seem to pierce your heart the most?  Is it poverty, sickness, children who lack the benefit of music, art or sports in their educational system? These issues weigh on your spirit for a reason; so that you can do something to make a difference in that arena, using your resources to bring about change.

    Expectation – They created an expectation that their giving makes a difference in the future of others. You too can expect that your gift will change the lives and environment of others. You can create your own self-fulfilling prophecy that you expect good results from your investment.

    Since very few of us are billionaires, does that mean that we can’t have an impact in the world?  Does that mean that we can’t use our comparably limited assets to help others?  We each have an abundance of resources in the form of our time, our talent or our treasures which we can give freely to others.

    • Our time represents what we value most.  Take a look at how a man or woman spends their time each day, and you’ll know what’s most important to them.
    • Our talent represents the abilities, skills and knowledge we possess that we can share with others. Freely sharing our talent will reduce expenses and costs to others.
    • Our treasure represents financial resources that we’ve earned or inherited that can fund the good works of others.

    One person’s time, another’s talent, and yet another’s treasures all working together are essential to improve the lives of people on every continent. So don’t wait for the government or someone else to allocate resources to a problem, or to make it a priority. Determine how you can make a difference. Determine how you can lead others to give extraordinary things in extraordinary ways.

    “We have a choice. We can make our kids billionaires and it will ruin them. Or we can realize how blessed we are and try to spread those blessings around. My view has always been that success unshared is failure.”John Paul DeJoria, founder of the Paul Mitchell hair-products empire who grew up homeless. (The Biggest Gift In The World, WSJ Magazine, November 2011, p. 104)

    “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”(2 Corinthians 9:6-8) King James Study Bible

    Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel

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