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Joy in Giving: Minneapolis Women Philanthropists Share Inspirational Ways They Put their Passion Into Action

By Cassidy Burns

The following guest blog post was written by Cassidy Burns, an Opportunity International supporter who works for Riverbridge Partners.

Betty Jane Hess addresses the attendees of Tuesday's Joy in Giving event.On Tuesday, more than 150 women gathered at the Joy in Giving event in Minneapolis, Minn. to learn and share why giving changes the world and changes you. The event was sponsored by Opportunity International, the Minneapolis Foundation and Riverbridge Partners. The evening brought together women of all ages to share inspiration and actionable ideas for making their own giving journeys more meaningful and more effective.

Women in the U.S. are acquiring wealth at a rapid pace through income, inheritance and business ownership. We are interested in using our wealth to make a difference in the world–the potential for philanthropic impact is huge. And we know that women are collaborative, enjoy the exchange of ideas, and recognize that they can learn a lot from one another. The Joy in Giving event provided an opportunity to hear from significant women leaders and to learn how giving has enriched their lives.

Betty Jane Hess, chair of Opportunity’s Board of Directors, provided the keynote address and shared her professional and personal life story. She told the audience, “To understand my motivations for giving, it is not enough to know what I have done by doing a Google search on my accomplishments. Instead, it helps if you know me and what defines my life values.”

Panel: (from left) Polly McCrea, Krista Carroll, Penny George, Barbara Lupient and moderator Mary Lynn Staley.Betty Jane’s speech was followed by a dynamic four-person panel discussion moderated by Mary Lynn Staley, chair of Opportunity’s Board of Governors and a Minneapolis leader serving on the boards of several nonprofits.

Throughout the evening, business leaders and philanthropists shared inspiring pearls of wisdom with the audience:

Barbara Lupient, Former CEO, Lupient Enterprises & Lupient Automotive Group

  • “Joy given is joy received. When you are the giver, you are always the receiver as well.”
  • “Giving comes from the heart.”

Penny George, President, The George Family Foundation

  • “Success has many mothers. It is amazing what you can accomplish when no one has to take the credit.”
  • “Start where you are–be open to the possibilities.”

Betty Jane Hess and Barbara Lupient.Krista Carroll, Co-owner, Print 4 Change (which donates 50% of its revenue to nonprofits eradicating poverty)

  • “When you get out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith, you will experience the greatest blessings.”
  • “Focus on the needs of others, not yourself. Trust God and let Him lead.”

Polly McCrea, Retired Business Owner, The Needle Nest & Collector’s Gallery, Former Chair of Opportunity’s Board of Directors

  • “If a problem seems too big, don’t turn your back on it.”
  • “Giving also equals volunteering. As a volunteer, you show others how they can also give.”

Betty Jane Hess, Keynote speaker

  • “Sometimes doing your best isn’t enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.” – from Winston Churchill
  • “Generosity begins with giving of yourself. And most of the time, it takes courage and tenacity.”

As the Joy in Giving event came to a close, the room buzzed with conversation as these engaged women shared with one another what they learned and what they hoped to do tomorrow to make the world a better place, each in her own way.

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