Giving Back with Interest
Ed and Sandra have a different outlook than most when it comes to investing. Several years ago, they created their own ‘Generosity Index’, investing in charities that help people realize their potential. “We have a diversified portfolio of giving. We like to give to a bunch of different things to ensure a good return on investment of good in our world,” says Ed.
Investing in the “Good Stuff”
Having built and run their own small business for years, Ed and Sandra are particularly interested in investing in local economies so that people can create a better life. “All small businesses [require] capital to operate…we like giving through microfinancing both overseas and in Canada,” says Ed.
Over the years, their charitable giving has connected them with people all over the world. “We’ve been blessed to be able to go and see where our giving is doing good,” says Sandra. They have travelled to India, El Salvador, Colombia, and to various countries in Africa, to name just a few.
The Lasting ROI of Charitable Giving
On a trip to Colombia earlier on in their microfinancing adventures, Ed and Sandra met a woman who made her living selling fruit at a roadside stand. Each morning, she would buy her inventory of fresh fruit for the day. “She told us she borrowed about $35 through a trust bank supported by a Canadian charity [Ed and Sandra recommend gifts to this charity from Abundance Canada], which she had to pay back with interest,” explains Ed. The loan gave her the capital to significantly increase her inventory of fresh fruit each morning. At the end of the day, she would return to the charity office and pay back the day’s loan. The next morning, she would borrow again. “Her income doubled!” Ed exclaims. “That’s when all of us realized the power of financing in life and being generous to people who don’t have all the same privileges as we have.”
On another trip to El Salvador, Ed met a farmer whom the charity had helped with a $300 loan to switch over one of his fields to a more lucrative cash crop. He plowed his cornfield under and planted plantains. While this new crop grew, the loan made it possible for the man and his family to survive without revenue from the corn crop they had previously grown on the land. “He was able to tell me with a big smile ‘We’ve just taken off our first crop of plantains and within one year I have now doubled my family’s income!’” reports Ed. The farmer repaid his loan to the charity, and he is set up for a better income for years to come. “Now it’s up to him…and that money will go to someone else willing to take a risk” says Ed.
Generosity Can Change the World
Ed and Sandra have found their investment approach to generosity has changed as they get older. “We used to visit places to go and do, but now we mostly visit places to see how they’re doing,” explains Ed. “Generosity changes individuals and over time those individuals might change the world,” concludes Sandra. “We are ordinary people that have been abundantly blessed by God, and we know that the sole purpose for the blessings we’ve received is to share them.”
Contributed by Kevin Davidson
Gift Planning Consultant