My Trip to the Tetons – A Beneficiary of Charity

One of the definitions of “charitable” is: “full of love and generosity.”  Philanthropy can be defined as: “The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind.”  I am a firm believer in the benefits of philanthropy and charitable giving, not just to society as a whole, but to the giver in particular.  We are taught by Peter in the New Testament:  “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover a multitude of sins.” (King James Version, 1 Peter 4:8).This past weekend I had a chance to be a beneficiary of the philanthropy of the Rockefeller family.  My wife and I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in Jackson, Wyoming.  While there we spent much of our time in one of our favorite places in the world, Grand Teton National Park.  The existence of the park can be traced mainly to the philanthropic efforts and dedication of John D. Rockefeller who donated 35,000 acres that are now part of Grand Teton National Park.  This weekend in particular I visited a newer part of the park known as the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve .  The preserve first opened in 2008.  At the dedication the story was told by Laurance Rockefeller’s daughter that next to the treadmill Mr. Rockefeller walked on every day was a photograph with the quotation: “In Wilderness is the Preservation of the World.”   His vision for the preserve was to create a place where park visitors could experience a spiritual and emotional connection to Phelps Lake and the Tetons.  In my opinion he succeeded.  If you are visiting the park, I would highly recommend taking time to visit the LSR Preserve.Most of us do not have the wherewithal of the Rockefeller family to give such large donations.  However, we all, with whatever means we have, can find ways to enhance our lives and the lives of others.  Opportunities exist to give financially, directly or through a donor advised fund.  Opportunities exist for landowners to create conservation easements to protect land.  Opportunities exist to give of our time and talents to serve our neighbors.   Find the way that works for you and make a commitment to become more charitable – not only will it cover a multitude of sins; it will make your life better.