Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Teach Your Children Well

MARBLEHEAD, MASSACHUSETTS - How do you teach people who are young the value of a charitable act? When the wee ones are just barely big enough to take a desired toy away from a playmate, and we start by teaching them that they shouldn’t. Generosity, kindness, compassion; what difficult concepts! I think they are totally comprehensible if you start early enough. My boss, friend and personal hero, Vera Bradley co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard has a great idea that I encourage all of you to use. When she gives her grandchildren (and there are myriad!) gifts for holidays, birthdays, etc, the monetary gift comes with one clear directive; you must give 10% to the charity of your choice. It is up to that child who will get the gift, be it a person on the street asking for change, or the local Alzheimer’s foundation. They all send her thank you notes and indicate where they decided to spend their 10%. The note above is from young Mr. Byrne, age 5. He has decided to make the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer his charity this year. Thank you, sweet Mr. Byrne, for your donation. Thank you to his ‘Birdie’ as well, for teaching yet another generation of your family how to give with an open heart and a hopeful gaze to the future.

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