TGT’s Young Givers: Redefining Generosity to Inspire Whole-life Giving

 

When The Generosity Trust began to expand our outreach, we realized that those under forty were making a powerful difference in Chattanooga. We wanted to tap into their energy and enthusiasm. Our first step was to host a lunch and ask the question: “What does generosity mean to you?” We were astounded by the answers. Among them: “It’s the opposite of scarcity – the remedy for cultural materialism,” and “An invitation to be on a crazy adventure with God.” At that point, we knew we had a tiger by the tail.

As we listened to their stories, we learned that many under forty experienced the great recession of 2008 and 2009 through their parents’ eyes. Understanding what it means to be in need, as well as to help others through difficult times, this age group is looking for ways to make a meaningful impact on their world. Many have personally benefitted from the generosity of others. Because of that they see generosity as a natural response, even though it may seem counter-cultural. Believing that generosity is less of an action and more of a mindset, they want to live lives of whole-life generosity.

That’s what Young Givers is about: Redefining generosity to inspire whole-life giving. So what does whole-life generosity mean? It means being generous with our time, talents, praise, influence, and forgiveness and our money and possessions. It is an outpouring of God’s love. A natural response to a grateful heart. The Young Givers understand that there is freedom in giving away more and not being tethered by “stuff.”

As the Young Givers began to form, they decided to focus on education and giving together. To provide information on the topic of generosity, they offer quarterly Lunch & Learns featuring members of the Chattanooga community who not only understand the area’s needs but are also working toward solutions. Lesley Scearce from United Way, Ladonna Cingilli from Generous Giving, and David Denmark from The Maclellan Foundation have spoken to the group. Young Givers members Ashley and Ben Baldwin talked about their journey throughout their twenties of fostering a heart of generosity. John and Bruce Zeiser recently spoke on generational generosity and told how their company adapted during COVID to meet the community’s needs. Lunch & Learns are open to all who consider themselves young, despite their actual age, and wish to learn more about generous living. In addition to community education, the Young Givers have established a Giving Circle.

Giving together to impact needs throughout the Chattanooga area has taken off like wildfire. Since the Young Givers made their first grant in November of 2019, they have committed $18,000 to support non-profits. Members of the Young Givers Giving Circle contribute a minimum of $50 a month for one year, renewing annually. Quarterly grants of $3,000 supported The Momentum Network, a support system for single moms in college and their children; Archway Kids, an entrepreneurial program for inner-city teens; Choices Pregnancy Center, a resource for support, testing, and other services; and Freedom USA, alternative therapy through song-writing for veterans. The group spontaneously raised extra funds to support TGT’s Disaster Relief Fund benefitting the extended tornado-relief efforts of two local churches: The Crossing and Covenant Presbyterian. And there’s more.

In addition to the summer quarterly grant, a member of the Giving Circle issued a challenge grant to support another applicant. Giving Circle members raised another $3,000 to provide laptops for teachers at Trousdale School, serving high-functioning adults with intellectual disabilities. This unprompted reaction of generosity is a beautiful example of living life with an abundance mindset. The Young Givers don’t want to miss out on all that God has in store for them. Because they have a pulse on area non-profits through their vocations and avocations, they encourage organizations and ministries to apply for support. And they have learned the beauty in giving without expectation. 

Most importantly, they understand that generosity is a journey, not a destination. Young Givers are embracing abundance and impacting God’s Kingdom. To learn more or join the effort, contact Maria Matthews at The Generosity Trust.

 

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