Research at Harvard Business School confirmed that philanthropic people are really and truly happier. The study also found that happier people are more inclined to give, and the more they give the happier they get. The conclusion is that philanthropy creates a perpetually-enhanced feedback loop to continually fuel our happiness, making it arguably the most rewarding investment in the known universe.
Why does philanthropy make us feel so good? Being generous with our precious time and talent or hard-earned money is intentional empathy and conscientious compassion in action. Unlike many of the ways that we spend, giving to an organization like OpenDoors also ignites the multiplier effect – both financially and socially – for compounded returns. Consider, for instance, the multiplied value of ensuring that a child in Asheville stays in school, succeeds in the classroom, and completes a high school education. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, dropouts can expect to earn an annual income of $20,241, whereas those who graduate will likely earn $30,627. That’s the difference between a life that perpetuates multigenerational poverty and one that breaks that ugly cycle once and for all.
The incarceration rate for those who drop out before earning their high school diploma is dramatically higher, too. In North Carolina it costs taxpayers $8,000 a year to educate a student, while it costs them approximately $30,000 a year to incarcerate someone. But OpenDoors perpetuates a positive cycle to reverse all of those lowered expectations and costly, wastefully-negative outcomes. That means that by giving to help mentor, tutor, and educate kids you automatically become an authentic crime-fighting hero. Where else are you going to generate that kind of ROI without having to leap over tall buildings or be seen on the nightly news wearing an embarrassingly tight leotard and a mask that makes you look like an insect?
The exhilaration of being a superhero crime-fighter pales though, in comparison to the profound thrill and deep satisfaction of knowing that you uplifted children whose families have been challenged by poverty for generations. With your help OpenDoors lovingly catapults kids toward success in school and in life, so that they enter adulthood with the skills, confidence, and self-motivation to make powerfully constructive contributions to our community. When they grow up and start to give back they, too, will enjoy the perpetual happiness those researchers talked about – and it will be thanks to you. Not even big-brained Harvard mathematicians will be able to calculate how happy you’ll be to see that happen.