By Amanda Ponzar
Today, Bill Gates Sr., Microsoft Founder Bill Gates III, Libby Gates Armintrout and a host of VIPs –- from major corporations like Microsoft, Nationwide and Deloitte to million-dollar donors to my Virginia Congressman Jim Moran -– came to United Way Worldwide (where I work) to dedicate the Mary M. Gates Learning Center.
Bill Gates III talked about growing up at the family dinner table regularly hearing conversations about public service (his parents were both very committed). He even said he was expected to donate some of his allowance to nonprofits and church.
Now he brings that family focus on service and generosity to the Gates Foundation where “it’s all about giving back.”
#1) Most of us are doing better than we think. Check out where YOU rank on the Global Rich List (use appropriate currency). Let's be thankful for what we HAVE; not what we don't have.
#2) Your family: it all starts at home. You may have the next Bill Gates (or Mother Teresa) eating at your dinner table, listening to what you say -- and watching how you live your life.
#3) Your circle of influence is bigger than you realize: neighbors, coworkers, business associates, friends, social networking connections, etc. YOU have incredible power to influence others for good, to stand for what you believe in, to encourage and help people you know (and those you don't), and through it all, to make a difference. As we say at United Way, you can give, advocate and volunteer. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED.
Someone wise once said, “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”
So, what will your dinner conversation be tonight? And what kind of life are you making?
(Photos: United Way Worldwide, 2010)