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Amplify Latinx

To achieve the American Dream, Latinas need “Increased educational opportunities without debt” says Amplify Latinx’s Betty Francisco

Betty Francisco is the CEO of Boston Impact Initiative and the Co-Founder of Amplify Latinx, a social venture that is building Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latino civic engagement, economic opportunity and leadership representation in Massachusetts. 

As a seasoned business executive, entrepreneur, attorney, board director, angel investor, and community leader with over 22 years in her field, she is known as a powerful convener and changemaker, unapologetic about creating visibility for Latinas and people of color.

The Boston Business Journal named Betty as one of the 2020 Power 50 – Extraordinary Year Extraordinary People, and Boston Magazine named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Boston in 2018. 

Amplify Latinx

Betty Francisco, Co-Founder of Amplify Latinx and CEO of Boston Impact Initiative. (Photo source: bettyfrancisco.com)

Betty is also Co-Founder of the Investors of Color Network, a consortium of Black and Latinx accredited investors working to close the racial funding gap in startup capital.

Throughout her career, Betty has been a champion for Latinas and people of color, working to create greater economic opportunities and level the playing field for Latinas and minority entrepreneurs. 

With her company, Amplify Latinx, she is cultivating a supportive and inclusive network that fosters mentorship, collaboration, and relationships.

During Latinas in Business’ 4th annual National Conversation with Latina Leaders, Betty spoke a bit on what it takes for Latinas to make it in America and achieve the American Dream. 

“In the world I live in, individual effort obviously is incredibly important. But it is not enough without addressing the systemic barriers that we have in this country, the things that prevent Latinas from continuously moving up, from advancing in their careers, and from accessing capital,” says Betty. 

To achieve the American Dream, Betty says it’s going to take some real change at the systemic level. 

“The reality is that Latinas form a significant number in the current workforce. They are extremely entrepreneurial. Six out of ten new businesses have been started by Latinas. And there are still significant barriers that they have. This is what needs to change in our country: Increasing the educational opportunities for Latinas without the burden of debt. That’s hugely important. I went to school, business school, law school, college with no debt and that is what helped me break the cycle of poverty for my family.” 

Betty obtained her JD and MBA from Northeastern University, and her BA in History from Bard College, before beginning her legal career as a Senior Business Law Associate at Edwards Wildman (now Locke Lord) representing start-ups, corporations, and investors. She accomplished all of this without accumulating any debt and Betty believes eliminating debt for Latinas is crucial to their success. 

Additionally, Betty states Latinas need more opportunities in career building jobs and accessing those jobs. 

Betty Francisco at GetKonnected event. (Photo source: bettyfrancisco.com)

“When I say career building, I mean high wage jobs, livable wage jobs, those that have pathways for growth, pathways to leadership and management as well as pathways for ownership. That’s really important for us to build ownership opportunities even within other people’s companies.” 

Access to networks and sponsors is another important step toward success. 

“It’s the sponsors that open the doors to opportunities and level the playing field. We’re so resilient, we don’t want to ask for help, we don’t need special favors but we want a level playing field,” says Betty.

“And then the last thing that we know are critical to us getting our stuff done, is flexible work arrangements: paid time off, good health benefits, and if we have children, caregiving benefits. And now we’re not just caring for children but also for our moms and dads and elders. We need full spectrum caregiving benefits. And finally, forming networks of support with other Latinas and Latinos, women groups, is so critical to pathways of success.” 

Watch the full panel below! 

Start your entrepreneurial journey with inspirational titles on Audible today!

Amplify Latinx’s vision is to achieve parity in representation of Latinos in decision-making roles of influence, resulting in economic prosperity and political equity for all Latinos in Massachusetts and beyond.

Founded in 2018, the Massachusetts-based nonprofit was created to serve as a non-partisan, collaborative convener advancing Latino civic engagement, economic opportunity, and leadership representation.

“Through our Cafecitos event series, convenings and visibility campaigns, we grew our network from 60 women at launch to a diverse network of over 4,500 multiracial, multicultural Latinos serving in elected and appointed positions, boards and commissions, and executive roles across sectors.”

Amplify Latinx

Betty Francisco with Amplify Latinx Co-Founder, Eneida Román. (Photo source: Amplify Latinx)

Today, Amplify Latinx convenes, connects and champions Latinx civic and business leaders through high-impact initiatives that support their advancement and representation into positions of power and influence. By advancing Latino representation in decision-making roles, they create advocates for racial equity and economic mobility for the Latino community. 

“When Latinx leaders, businesses and partner organizations come together in coalition around a shared mission of building representation and economic and political influence, we collaborate, we share knowledge and leverage our collective resources to drive systemic change.”

Betty hopes to continue to aid and amplify Latinas along their journeys as leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs through her various roles and ventures. 

In addition to her work with Amplify Latinx, Betty is also the CEO of Boston Impact Initiative, a social impact investment fund that invests integrated capital in regenerative local enterprises in Eastern Massachusetts that are owned and controlled by entrepreneurs of color or are serving communities of color. 

She serves on the Boards of Directors of The Boston Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Beth Israel Lahey Health, and Roxbury Community College. She is also a member of the Federal Reserve Bank’s New England Community Development Advisory Council, Advisory Board Member for LISC Boston and The Capital Network. She is also a founding member of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy which is building an equitable small business ecosystem for entrepreneurs of color in Massachusetts.

You might be interested: Latina entrepreneur and leader Susana Marino shares key business tips for female founders


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Top 5 Secrets to become a successful entrepreneur

These five secrets are not new; however, they are a good reminder of what it takes to move forward on your entrepreneurship journey. Some may practice these actions on and off, while others will turn them into habits. It’s those that ingrain these actions into their life that more often than not become successful entrepreneurs.

Top 5 Secrets to becoming a successful entrepreneur (Photo created by cookie_studio on freepik)

Every entrepreneur hopes that their venture will be successful. Many times, entrepreneurs are taking a big risk, leaving behind corporate jobs or traditional careers all for a dream. At Latinas in Business, we are always sharing the stories of our fellow entrepreneurs and leaders in our community, and time and time again we see overlap and similarities in their successful journeys.

While some believe the toughest part of launching a new business is arriving at a great idea, more often than not the toughest part is actually acting on your dreams. So many of us are guilty of this: we dream up a great idea only to put it on a shelf “for later” and forget about it. Then, “later” we discover someone else has developed our idea, acting on it where we didn’t, and they are now successful for it.

Action is what makes a successful entrepreneur. Constant and consistent movement is what sets successful ventures apart from the others.

“It’s critical once you believe in an idea that you make the step to some form of action right away in order to start building momentum towards your goals,” Jon Gillespie-Brown wrote in So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur. Many new entrepreneurs “talk a good game but do not follow through.”

The importance of action is not just pertinent to a business launch. Owners of established businesses may also be stopped in their tracks in the face of challenges posed by regulations, advances in technology or the overall economy. A successful entrepreneur is someone who, regardless of the challenge, keeps moving though not always forward.

A successful entrepreneur know that success is not always a linear upward progression and understand that obstacles arise. Those who are ultimately successful do not become paralyzed by challenges but instead find a way around them. They don’t sit still. They keep moving. They adapt.

Entrepreneurs who are unable or unwilling to continue to move forward or backward or seek an alternative route are destined to doom. Without movement of some sort the entrepreneur’s venture gets stuck and eventually fails. If you’re determined to make your venture a success that stands apart from the rest, then take these actions and ingrain them into your business building process.

Top 5 actions that make a successful entrepreneur

  1. Set goals.

Set goals to put your plans into focus. (Photo by Jess Bailey Designs from Pexels)

Entrepreneurs who know what they want and have set a course are more likely to accomplish their objectives. Goals act as the homing device for an entrepreneurs’ actions. At times they may need to take a step back or sideways to continue to move forward. Like the North Star guiding navigators, goals help entrepreneurs create a new course after making adjustments.

  1. Don’t fear failure.

Often people are taught that failing is bad. Yet without failure few entrepreneurs would know the way to success. Failure can be a powerful teacher. It shows you what needs changing, where you need to adapt and improve. Entrepreneurs seldom get it right the first time. But having the ability to keep moving by making adjustments improves the odds of success.

  1. Take risks.

Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec once wrote, “Accept that there is a chance you will fail to make the leap across a chasm, or the rock you are about to step on may crumble, but understand that the rewards outweigh the risks.”

Indeed there is truth to the saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Taking risks is the first step to making something happen. If you stay stagnant and still, nothing will change. Remember, success is achieved through action. 

  1. Don’t settle.

Some entrepreneurs may strike gold the first time out. Others require more time, energy and perhaps the alignment of some planets.

Don’t become discouraged. Keep moving. Evaluate your business plan and make necessary adjustments based on feedback and results. Sometimes moving past a large obstacle means going around it and not necessarily over it. If you want your venture to really be a success, don’t let yourself get stuck or settle for something that is only half of what you dreamed.

Seek a mentor to help you navigate the world of entrepreneurship. (Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels)

  1. Seek a mentor.

The entrepreneurs who freeze and do nothing when they come to their “moment of truth” may do so because they don’t know what to do next. The best way to achieve success is to work with someone who has already been down the same road. Plenty can go wrong in business but the right mentor can help an entrepreneur navigate the pitfalls and keep moving forward, improving the odds for success. Joining a community of like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs is a great way of connecting with people who have been there before, and can guide you through your journey.


This article was originally published in 2015. It has been updated for relevancy. 

How this Latina owned makeup brand is inspiring self-confidence and empowerment

Melissa Polanco is the co-founder of Ella’s Eve Cosmetics —a Latina owned makeup brand that promotes confidence and celebrates inner beauty. Co-founded with her sister, Lissa, the two are working to build a community centered around self-confidence, authenticity, and empowerment.

Ella’s Eve Cosmetics Co-founder, Melissa Polanco (Photo courtesy Melissa Polanco)

Representing Latinas in the makeup industry

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Melissa and Lissa, moved to the U.S. to pursue their college education. Neither had plans on launching a beauty brand, with Melissa’s background being in higher education and Lissa’s in event planning. However, both found a love for makeup that grew from a hobby to a passion and would eventually become their brand, Ella’s Eve.

It was two years ago that the sisters got to talking about starting their own makeup brand and becoming entrepreneurs. Neither one had any formal background in cosmetology, but over the years they had found a love for makeup while watching YouTube tutorials and following their favorite influencers on social media.

“We have passion for it, so we learned by researching shades, products, manufacturers, etc,” says Melissa.

While doing their research they noticed that there were not that many Latina owned makeup brands.This further motivated them to pursue their dreams and make their brand successful.

“We wanted to join the world of entrepreneurship and show women like us that you can do it too as long as you put in the work and have the passion for it,” says Melissa.

In 2018, the sister-duo finally launched Ella’s Eve, offering 5 shades of liquid lipstick. Later they would expand their collection to add a variety of products including lip lacquers and an eye shadow palette.

Ella’s Eve Cosmetics “Velvet Posh Liquid Lips” (Photo courtesy Melissa Polanco)

Being Real

As a Latina owned makeup brand, Melissa and Lissa wanted to make sure they were authentically representing their brand and their roots. From the start they knew that self-confidence and authenticity would be at the heart of their branding. We see too much with makeup that it is considered “fake” or inauthentic. Many see makeup as a mask, but Melissa and Lissa wanted to redefine people’s relationship to makeup. Their mission was to create a brand that would provide quality, cruelty-free products with honesty and help people highlight their natural beauty and boost their confidence.

Confidence comes from being real, the makeup only enhances the beauty that was already there. This authenticity can be seen in every aspect of Ella’s Eve Cosmetics. It’s in their founders, in their products, and in their branding.

Sister-duo, Lissa and Melissa, Co-founders of Ella’s Eve Cosmetics showing off their liquid lipsticks (Photo courtesy Melissa Polanco)

“Because we are a small business, we have very limited resources. We literally wear many hats while operating Ella’s Eve,” says Melissa. “We are the marketers, the faces of the brand, the customer service, the photographer, etc.”

This can be overwhelming at times, but Melissa loves that she gets to be so involved in every aspect of the brand. This gives them the ability to reach their customers on another level. By being so involved, they are easily approachable.

“One of our main focuses is to be reachable and relatable in a way where our customers feel free to reach out to us and feel like they are reaching out to a friend,” she says. “It can be just reaching out to ask a question about our products or even sending us a DM to share the love for our brand or products. We are building a community around love and acceptance and I believe our customers see that.”

In one of their recent promotion videos, their authentic selves shined through unexpectedly, and it was a success among their followers.

What was supposed to be a serious “ad” turned carefree and fun. The “this is me” outtakes that Melissa filmed of her sister wearing one of their lip shades ended up being what they posted to their social media.

A new addition to Ella’s Eve, the “Make It Your Eve” eyeshadow Palette (Photo courtesy Melissa Polanco)

“Our followers loved it and even commented how real and refreshing it looked because it was different. That is what we want,” says Melissa. “We want to promote the real us, which reflects our brand and remind everyone that what is important is to be you and love who you are.”

Inspiring confidence in your dreams

Loving who you are is the first step to taking over the world and achieving your dreams. Melissa and Lissa want to not only inspire people to feel confident in their appearances but also in achieving their dreams.

When they began Ella’s Eve Cosmetics, they were inspired by the lack of Latina owned makeup brands in the industry. They wanted to make a change and show others that they too can achieve their goals.

“We now get approached by fellow Latina women who share their support and how proud they are that two Latina sisters are going for their goals. They love how relatable we are and this is one of the things that I love the most because it makes me feel proud that I am representing us in this industry,” says Melissa.

That representation matters. It shows Latinas all over the country that they too can make their dreams come true. It gives them confidence.

You might be interested: Success for 21st Century women entrepreneurs

“Never put yourself down,” Melissa says to other minority women looking to start their own business. “Put yourself out there and go for it. There might be instances where some doors are shut or things don’t go as planned, but always look forward and never give up.”

Just be authentic. Love yourself and be proud of who you are, inside and out. With confidence, anything is possible.

Giving back during the Holiday Season Shinny names on a donors' wall

Ugly lies about giving back during the Holiday Season

Giving back during the Holiday Season is a usual practice that reminds us there are others in need in the world. Philanthropy  is a practice that has helped many. It has built non-profit and religious organizations that are now larger than corporations; it has sustained the poor, the suffering and the excluded. However, philanthropy also hides many ugly lies.

Giving back during the Holiday Season Shinny names on a donors' wall

Shinny names on a donors’ wall

Let’s face it, though, big giving is a big fat lie for most large philanthropic donations made by millionaires and billionaires during exactly that time of year when they still have time to receive succulent tax deductions in return-as if they needed them.

Among them, we find different kind of givers: Some choose charities of their preference –not always those that help the most in need– such as the arts, the ballet, or a museum, usually for activities they enjoy the most.

Others prefer to give abroad, malaria in Africa or hunger in Latin America, some unknown place they don’t have to deal with on a daily basis. Then there are those who support organizations that sustain their religious beliefs such as anti-abortion and anti-gay organizations, denominational charities and the like.

Still there are those who donate to sick children, animal organizations or the veterans, all good causes that strive to really help. But, in my opinion, the world of charity is a world that sustains a system of unfairness and inequality. Otherwise, why do we still need philanthropy?

Giving back during the Holiday Season, where does the money really go?

giving back during Holiday Season Koch Foundation website

Koch Foundation website

Three quarters of wealthy people give to causes that are either of their personal preference or provide them personal benefits, according to Eric Friedman, the author of Reinventing Philanthropy: A Framework for More Effective Giving.

And Dan Kadlec in his article “Why the Rich Aren’t Good at Giving” shares the information provided by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in an annual list of charitable gifts of $1 million or more.

According to the list, in 2012, 73 such gifts were as follows:

  • 21 gifts of $1 million or more (22%) went to the arts, museums, sports, or historic preservation, or to foundations with a significant emphasis on these areas.
  • 37 gifts of $1 million or more (39%) went to colleges and universities.
  • 15 gifts of $1 million or more (16%) went to health-related charities and hospitals in the developed world.

He also shares that billionaire David Koch donated $65 million to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, for an outdoor plaza renovation, while he spared the National Museum of Natural History $35 million for a dinosaur exhibit hall, as examples.

Tax deduction, the real reason about giving back during the Holiday Season

Poor people receiving food instead of economic empowerment

While the wealthy proclaim giving as a way of helping –it undoubtedly does–, it is also a way of helping themselves. Let’s not forget the large tax deductions that go to those who freely donate their money, which otherwise will go to taxes for government created programs and resources. Those programs are designed for all without preferences or discrimination of any sort.

in Non-Profit Quarterly, Rick Cohen mentions that, “Evidence of a disconnect on the topic of taxes was found when advisors cited a belief that 40 percent of HNW [high net worth] individuals would reduce their giving if the estate tax were eliminated, and that 78 percent would do so if income tax deductions for donations were eliminated—whereas just six percent and 45 percent of HNW individuals, respectively, indicated that they would reduce their charitable giving if these tax policy changes occurred.”

And he continues, “Only 10 percent of the high net worth survey participants report that reducing their tax obligations is the motivation for their charitable giving, but 46 percent of HNW advisors believe that reducing taxes is the reason.”

Choosing where to allocate their charity money is a privilege to receive a privilege, one that many don’t have. When a low-income person spares a dollar at the grocery store to see their names go on a green shamrock or a few coins into the Salvation Army’s hanging basket, they don’t run to deduct that amount from their taxes.

The untold -and ugly- truth: Giving back instead of paying fair wages

march-for-15-wage

However, the same wealthy population that so freely gives this time of year would deny their workers a fair wage, will fight back regulations that protect employee benefits and resist rewarding their employee’s hard work with a fair share of their profits.

They support –with unbelievably large amounts of money- those in government that deny the people’s right to earn fair wages and live with dignity and in safety. They would fight back on giving immigrants the opportunity to build a decent life for themselves and their children. They would prevent veterans the care and services they desperately need after sacrificing their lives –and their families’- for their country.

The philanthropic act of giving is an act of otherness; the “haves” and the “have –nots” are separated by that act. There is no link, no bond in between that would change the status-quo. Philanthropic giving is not an act of kindness, it is an act of selfishness; it does not strive for community economic empowerment but it underscores individual humiliation.

If you ever had to depend on charity of any kind to provide for yourself or for your family, you know that receiving charity is not a good feeling –it is mortifying and deprecating. In a way, it is a “reminder” that we are vulnerable, inept and unable to provide for ourselves. We have fallen off the ladder and it is unlikely that will be able to climb up again.

When asked if they would prefer to receive charity or recover their dignity, I’m sure most people would choose the latter.

So next time you are thinking of giving, think less in terms of what you want to give and more of what others might want to receive: give another human being their dignity, their ability to fight for their own rights, their ability to feel whole again, and the ability to choose their own destiny.

Monica Taher when crisis sets the path to financial freedom

Monica Taher

Monica Taher

A scary moment in our lives: who has not had it? But when everything crumbles around you, then it seems hard to see where to start and how to keep it going. An emotional crisis is usually the first step into a series of disasters that can include deep financial problems.

Monica Taher, a Latina in business who defines herself as a serial entrepreneur, faced the turmoil of splitting with her lifetime partner in 2011. Today, she shares some tips on how she came back from the ashes and acquired financial freedom doing what she loves.

“As much as I was devastated when she deserted me with a mortgage to pay and a daughter to take care of, today I can look back and find a real blessing in that moment,” Monica said.

Despite the emotional pain caused by their separation, she quickly realized that a huge part of the impact was financial. “I had enjoyed the flexibility of a dual income household and suddenly, I needed to reevaluate my personal finances, assets and most importantly, the business I wanted to launch. My partner of 13 years was never supportive of my vision, and that moment of cruel realization was a turning point in my life,” she said.

Like Monica, many Latinas do not think in terms of protecting their personal finances. It is a cultural “treat,” a behavior that is passed on from generation to generation by most women in our families. We trust that our partner, husband or significant other will take care of us, and eventually, we expect our children to do the same.

However, life is not as stable as it used to be and children have their own plans and problems to worry about. “We can’t make excuses not to prepare ourselves for the eventual situation of facing a crisis,” Monica said.

The first thing she did was to dive into research about personal finances and entrepreneurship strategies. “At first, I really didn’t understand much. However, the more I read, the more it made sense,” she shared. Finally, the opportunity to launch the startup of her dreams became an obsession.

She was taught by her parents that education was the path to financial freedom. But how would she manage to continue her studies while supporting her family, saving money for her daughter’s college education and her own retirement, and graduating without getting into further debt?

“Instead of taking out student loans, I founded fellowships at the university in exchange for registration fees, and consequently graduated with zero debt. I finished my Masters degree at UCLA while working full-time,” Monica said.

2

Monica Taher at her house in Los Angeles, CA

Appointed in 2009 as Director of Business Development at a leading digital multimedia producer, Getty Images Latin America (GILA), Monica invested in that company some money she had put away and became a partner. In her current role, Mónica supervises the penetration of GILA’s digital assets in the US Hispanic and Latin American markets.

“I turned into an avid reader of financial literature, raising my credit scores from the low 600s to the 800s and realized I had increased my chances of maximizing wealth for my daughter and me,” Monica said. “It took about two and a half years to get out of the woods but now I own two properties and I’m financially stable.”

She is now in the process of launching a second startup, ClipYap, an app that would allow users to chat using movie and TV shows’ lines and actions in the form of motioned GIFs seamlessly put together.

These are some tips Monica shared with LIBizus about facing a life crisis and how to make the best out of it:

  1. If you own assets with a husband, partner or significant other, your name should be on every deed or investment;
  2. Do not make excuses; you cannot be so busy that you cannot take care of your own financial protection;
  3. If you have a vision, a dream, if you are an entrepreneurial being like I am, educate yourself and focus on it;
  4. Although it is easier said than done, you cannot be with a partner who is not supportive of your ideas or do not help you fulfill your dreams.

“I know I’m in a much better place today that I would have ever been if I had stayed in that relationship. As Latinas and as immigrants, we have to fight harder to get into places and prove that we have a brain. We need to make conscious decisions, and have the courage to work through the pain with tenacity, resilience and creativity,” she concluded.

Economic empowerment for the poor

Holiday Season time of giving or time of economic empowerment

Economic empowerment for the poor

This time of year we are bombarded with requests from all sorts of organizations who remind us that it is again “this time of year to give.” Giving to charities or to churches is a practice that has helped many. It has built non-profit and religious organizations that are now larger than corporations; it has sustained the poor, the suffering and the needy.

We find different kind of givers: Some choose charities of their preference –not always those that help the most in need– such as the arts, the ballet, or a museum, usually for activities they enjoy the most.

Others prefer to give abroad, malaria in Africa or hunger in Latin America, some unknown place they don’t have to deal with on a daily basis. Then there are those who sustain organizations that sustain their religious beliefs such as anti-abortion and anti-gay organizations, denominational charities and the like.

Still there are those who donate to sick children, animal organizations or the veterans, all good causes that strive to really help. But, in my opinion, the world of charity is a world that sustains a system of unfairness and inequality. Otherwise, we will be not talking about the subject. Here are my views:

Three quarters of wealthy people give to causes that are either of their personal preference or provide them personal benefits, according to Eric Friedman, the author of Reinventing Philanthropy: A Framework for More Effective Giving.

And Dan Kadlec in his article “Why the Rich Aren’t Good at Giving” shares the information provided by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in an annual list of charitable gifts of $1 million or more.

According to the list, in 2012, 95 such gifts and 73 were as follows:

  • 21 gifts of $1 million or more (22%) went to the arts, museums, sports, or historic preservation, or to foundations with a significant emphasis on these areas.
  • 37 gifts of $1 million or more (39%) went to colleges and universities.
  • 15 gifts of $1 million or more (16%) went to health-related charities and hospitals in the developed world.

He also shares that billionaire David Koch donated $65 million to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, for an outdoor plaza renovation, while he spared the National Museum of Natural History $35 million for a dinosaur exhibit hall, as examples.

While the wealthy proclaim giving as a way of helping –it undoubtedly does–, it is also a way of helping themselves. Let’s not forget the large tax deductions that go to those who freely donate their money, which otherwise will go to taxes for government created programs and resources. Those programs are designed for all without preferences or discrimination of any sort.Poor people receiving food instead of economic empowerment

Choosing where to allocate their charity money is a privilege to receive a privilege, one that many don’t have. When a low-income person spares a dollar at the grocery store to see their names go on a green shamrock or a few coins into the Salvation Army’s hanging basket, they don’t run to deduct that amount from their taxes.

However, the same wealthy population that so freely gives this time of year would deny their workers a fair wage, will fight back regulations that protect employee benefits and resist rewarding their employee’s hard work with a fair share of their profits.

They support –with unbelievably large amounts of money- those in government that deny the right of people to earn fair wages to live with dignity and in safety. They would fight back on giving immigrants the opportunity to build a decent life for themselves and their children. They would prevent veterans the care and services they desperately need after offering their lives –and their families’- for the country.

The philanthropic act of giving is an act of otherness; the “haves” and the “have –nots” are separated by that act. There is no link, no bond in between that would change the status-quo. Philanthropic giving is not an act of kindness, it is an act of selfishness; it does not strive for community economic empowerment but it underscores individual humiliation.

If you ever had to depend on charity of any kind to provide for yourself or for your family, you know that receiving charity is not a good feeling –it is mortifying and deprecating. In a way, it is a “reminder” that we are vulnerable, inept and unable to provide for ourselves. We have fallen off the ladder and it is unlikely that will be able to climb up again.

When asked if they would prefer to receive charity or recover their dignity, I’m sure most people would choose the latter.Begging With Sign

So next time you are thinking of giving, think less in terms of what you want to give and more of what others might want to receive: give another human being their dignity, their ability to fight for their own rights, their ability to feel whole again, and the ability to choose their own destiny.