Charity. A seven-letter, three-syllable word that—in its Latin form of caritas—means preciousness, dearness or high price.

Sadly, I only knew it to mean the latter…as in dollar signs. If a need existed, the simplest and easiest way to resolve it was by throwing some money at it. I’ve been given much, so why not give much back?

And while I still see the quality and necessity of that approach, I see its limitations too.

Last week, I drove out to Manhattan to visit the Charity: Water headquarters and personally deliver our donations from the inaugural Aperture Effect campaign. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to raise $1005.87—doubling the goal and granting 50 people access to clean water! I couldn’t wait to give them the funds!

There I met Jordan, a Charity: Water intern who graciously guided me through the office that, just a week earlier, had been shut down by Hurricane Sandy. The staff was still settling back in after being displaced just a few days earlier. But based on Jordan’s charm, you’d never know it. She took me through every department, introducing me to staff and describing every detail of the space.

After that, Kate took me out to lunch. And it was there that I saw charity personified. Kate doesn’t simply work at Charity: Water. She believes in it and she lives it. She wakes up everyday with a passion to give of herself to others. It’s not something she musters up or tries to extend. It’s who she is. She can’t help but be charitable…it’s in her very nature.

But on this trip, I was reminded—or perhaps, I discovered—that there’s a bit of that in all of us. For some—like Kate—it just comes. For others, like myself, we have to stop and work to shift our eyes off ourselves and onto others. But it’s there.

And it’s there in many forms. It can mean giving money…but it can also mean giving time, space, and self. That’s what Jordan and Kate gave to me. And I hope it stays with me. I hope I continue to seek out more opportunities to give back, to help out, to be charitable. I hope my eyes will more easily identify needs and respond to them.

So thank you all for your generous support and for walking the last couple of months with me. In your giving, I received so much…charity’s beautiful return.

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