By Heather Barrow
I saw an article on Today.com this weekend. It asks parents, ‘If you handed your child a $20 bill with the opportunity to buy anything, or donate the money instead, what do you think he or she would do?’
Our family eats, sleeps and breathes philanthropy through our work at High Risk Hope. My children also live a blessed life and have difficulties differentiating wants versus needs.
The article had me wondering what my kids would do with the money. The timing for this challenge is perfect, as Give Day Tampa Bay is Tuesday, May 3rd, and the minimum donation is $25.
I put the $25 offer on the table and waited. My 9-year-old daughter Claire (who is currently still in the red for a riding helmet debt caused by her adopted puppy Tucker) immediately said she would donate the money. The only problem was she couldn’t decide between High Risk Hope and The Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Both are worthy causes but it’s ‘really hard’ to pick between babies and animals. I feel her pain. There is a good chance she will pick the puppies, which is OK with me (at least publicly).
My son Hill, who just celebrated his 7th birthday, declared he would give the $25 plus all of his birthday money to High Risk Hope. My heart be still. I knew it! I am raising an angel. Until he asked how many leaves he could pick off The Giving Tree for giving his $25 donation plus $200 in birthday money.
You see, The HRH Giving Tree is a way we are trying to teach our philanthropists, both young and old, about giving. Every one of the leaves on The Giving Tree correlates to a fantastic prize. Toys, $10- $50 Columbia gift cards, Kendra Scott Jewelry, a Pottery Barn Kids rocking horse and gift certificates from various Hyde Park Village stores. Claire and Hill have seen me loading these prizes for weeks. If someone donates $25 to HRH on Give Day Tampa Bay, they can pick a leaf off of the HRH Giving Tree by the fountain in Hyde Park. The idea, just like in the book The Giving Tree, is to give away all of our leaves throughout the day, and end up with only a stump. Every grown-up donor will receive a shopping pass full of discounts to Hyde Park Village stores and restaurants. We are going to roll out the purple carpet for every one of our HRH donors on Give Day, no matter how much they give.
It may not be Hill’s only reason for donating $25, but it is his only reason for forking over 100% of his birthday money. The same is probably true for many adults who may donate $25 to HRH on May 3rd, only to receive the discount shopping pass. The truth is, it doesn’t matter why someone makes their first donation to HRH or any charity, especially children. What matters is that they are introduced to philanthropy at a young age by their parents. The reward will come as they grow older and remember the day their parents empowered them with the ability to make a difference in the life of another. Even if it was because they wanted a prize from HRH’s Giving Tree. Try the challenge in your home. You can’t afford not to invest $25 in your child’s, and this community’s, future. What would your kids do with $25?