M.J. - Wisconsin
I have been working with Bhaj for the last couple of years and she is helping me become an impact philanthropist rather than merely a transactional philanthropist. She is enabling me to leave a legacy of philanthropic significance.
Shortly after our initial contact, I remember reading a book that Bhaj recommended on the topic of philanthropy. After reading the book, I realized that philanthropy can be complex and there is so much to think about. My financial situation, being wealthy in a poor town, didn’t make things any easier. It made me feel quite isolated. Also, there was a certain amount of internal chaos that, I think, came from guilt associated with being financially well-off. Bhaj has helped me turn that chaos into purpose: Bhaj has helped remove doubts about my desire to make an impact by supporting community and organizations that have personal meaning and connection to my values.
Part of the complexity of philanthropy is the connection to family. My husband used to fear that we would outlive our financial assets if we keep giving them away through philanthropy. Bhaj initially helped set up a system where I would actively consult with him when writing a donation check over a certain threshold. After further conversation, my husband and I mutually determined and set aside an amount of family money that would be used to support our life and lifestyle. This amount is sufficient and provides us both the comfort that we want. Bhaj was very helpful in eliminating what could have been an ongoing stressful situation.
Being a wealthy person in a poverty stricken community is somewhat unique. Bhaj is helpful at reinforcing the position I am in and the impact I can have on others. It can feel lonely yet Bhaj helps me recognize that I am doing good work and helps keeping me going in the right direction.
Having come into my inheritance, the amount of giving has increased but not the number of organizations. In other words, my giving amount per organization has gone up considerably.
Bhaj is great at pointing out things that are important that I am not thinking about. I constantly ask myself, “How can I make my money go further? Why it is important to stay in close contact with beneficiaries and how does targeting activities to support helps me build a stronger connection with organizational mission and the impact of my giving.” Being able to become involved at this level has meant a lot to me.
Bhaj and I have monthly conversations and that is what keeps me on track with philanthropy. Each month, I come up with action items and I am accountable to her. This is the best part of our relationship! Also, we talk about things I cannot talk about with anyone else. Continuity of our relationship and its ongoing nature is invaluable and very enjoyable.
Having no expectations at the beginning of our relationship, it is nice to look back and express my appreciation for working with Bhaj the past couple of years. I am so pleased and happy to be working with her. I would definitely recommend Bhaj if a friend found themselves in a similar situation to mine. What I experienced was an excellent education on philanthropy. It is a very enjoyable experience working with Bhaj. She is a very valuable guide to have on this journey; in fact, I believe that Bhaj on a scale of 1 to 10, she is a “9” in terms of how much she has meant to me becoming an impactful philanthropist. I’d like to think that on my own, I could have scored 1 out of 10. Seriously though, I truly enjoy our conversations, learn a lot and really do enjoy the entire experience.