This week I attended a reception honoring the work of Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP). The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded a Leadership in Action Award to NAP for “its work to promote, facilitate, and celebrate philanthropic giving to Native communities, while providing professional development opportunities and support for Native Americans working in the field of philanthropy.”
While I was interested in the award presentation, I was especially moved and impressed by the messages threaded throughout the words, songs and prayers of the celebration: the importance of remembering one’s roots, of honoring our connectedness, and of cultivating a culture of giving.
Wilma Mankiller, former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, shared her words of wisdom. She spoke of life as a series of reciprocal relationships. As we accumulate more materials things, she said, we have that much more to share with others. And giving is an authentic, enduring value that is rooted in native culture.
As we departed the event we were presented with a small gift — a lapel pin with the message “everyONEgives.” Enough said.
- Wendy Wehr, MCF V.P. of Communications and Information Services