Celeste Owens
Psychologist

Celeste Owens

A motivational speaker and licensed psychologist with a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

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The willing heart

Q: Do financially successful people have an obligation to help those in need? Are Bill and Melinda Gates, who have given away hundreds of millions of dollars through their foundation, encouraging others to step up to the plate? How much should people who have made millions be expected to give?

We all should feel a sense of duty to help the less fortunate; not just those of significant financial means. Yes, money increases an individual's access to resources; however, those with a passion for helping start the practice of giving prior to acquiring money. The state of volunteerism in America lends credence to this statement.

According to a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2002) a little more than 25 percent of Americans donated their time and services without pay. These acts of kindness contributed $239.2 billion to the U.S. economy. Although some volunteers may believe that the rich should shoulder more of the responsibility, they certainly aren't waiting for the wealthy to do so.

I would guess that Bill and Melinda Gates were givers before the acquisition of billions. Are they motivating other successful people to give back? Perhaps; however, money is not the primary motivator for acts of altruism -- these deeds begin with a heart willing to give back. Successful givers are so because of their heart, not their means.

By Celeste Owens  |  November 23, 2009; 1:59 AM ET  | Category:  giving Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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This is a great article. I believe that people should give according to their resources. This includes financial resources as well as non-financial, i.e. volunteering. We can all help others in need in other ways other than monetary.

Posted by: janiceaccokeek | November 24, 2009 3:56 PM
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