Giving is receiving in good deed game

AUCTION: The property was snapped up by a Sydney investor for $622,000 and the proceeds were then donated to fund childhood cancer research.I was inspired last weekend by the building and sale of what they called the “Cure House” at Teralba.
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It got me thinking about charity and philanthropy and howI could probably give a little bit more than I do.

For those who missed it, the Children’s Cancer Institute, McDonald Jones Homes, McCloy Group and a number of other parties joined forces to celebrate International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by building a house in under 21 days.

This seemed like a massive construction effortin itself, considering the time it can take to put together a flat pack barby from a hardware store, let alone a house.

But there was so much more to it.

The home was built on land donated by McCloy by over 120 tradies who lent their time free of charge to meet the challenge of getting the luxury project completed within the designated timeframe.

It was fully furnished by Freedom, with all kitchen and laundry appliances provided by Electrolux and home entertainment by Panasonic.

And if it all sounds like a bit of a plug, you’d have to say #accomplished.

The deednot only raised the profile of childhood cancer research in what is an unfortunately crowded marketplace of good causes, it raised funds. Lot’s of them.

The property was snapped up by a Sydney investor for $622,000 at an auction attended by such luminaries as Scott Cam from The Block, and the proceeds were thendonated to fund childhood cancer research.

Talk aboutfeel-good factor.

“We’re here to help, and we’ve got to help,” McDonald Jones Homes founder Bill McDonald told theNewcastle Heraldlast Sunday.

This got me thinking about the different levels of helping you can do, depending on your circumstances.

Charity, I thought, began at home, and philanthropy seems to begin when that home gets really big.

I think things like that when I hear about billionaires like Facebook founderMark Zuckerberg pledging $3billion to eradicate all disease in the lifetime of his children.

Talk about raising the bar.

Charity actually focuses on eliminating the suffering caused by social problems, while philanthropy focuses on eliminating social problems.

Feeding someone during a famine is charity while teaching someone how to grow food is philanthropy.

The Cure House project was surely an inspired combination of the two in that it was focused on eliminating the suffering of childhood cancer by generating funds to research causes to eliminate childhood cancer.

Zuckerberg’s pledge just reflectsthe different level we work on when it comes tosocial conscience. We’d do the same thing in his position if we became unfathomably rich, wouldn’t we?

There’s certainly no shortage of causes.

And of course it’s all relative. In fact, most of my generosity is aimed towards relatives –immediate ones mainly, which I often complain are sending me broke.

But that’s family for you.

You struggle and save andthen, according to Forbes Magazine, you amass an incredible fortune, a fraction of which you should give away, ala MrZuckerberg, Warren Buffett, George Sorosetc.

It’s called philanthropy, which Americans have become famous for, derived from the Greek words “philos,” which means loving, and “anthropos,” which means humankind.

Cynics might suggests “taxman-thropy” plays a role too,but indeed I was surprised recently to hear that a person I know contributes a weekly amount, beyond taxes, to causes she supports too.

I wasn’t so much surprised to hear that, as perplexed that I don’t do it.

The friend’s no billionaire but obviously rich in spirit, and It’s not as if it’s a new idea.

References to charity and philanthropy can be found through the ages in the Koran, Bible, Torah and in the teachings of many other religions and cultures, including Buddhism, Japanese and Native American cultures, Hinduism and the ATO.

There is no doubting what is the right thing to do; as fundraisers know only too well,the challenge is getting the doingdone.

Which gets us back to the Cure House.

Certainly, it wasthe right thing to do, although there may be a question mark over theslight kerfuffle that followed.

A refund claim by McDonald Jones Homes on certification fees totalling apiddly $1000 was rejected by Lake Macquarie City Council.

Voting to donate the money to another charity, LMCC ruled they have a responsibility to look after ratepayermoney and that the good publicity was rewardenough for the builder.

Technically that was probably the right thing to do as well. ButIt shouldn’t detract from what was an inspirational project.