Doing good

By Brad Olsen

For Mormon Times

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 2 2011 6:00 a.m. MST

I am employed by LDS Philanthropies, a department of the Office of the Presiding Bishopric. A few years ago Bishop Richard C. Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric spoke to a group of university donors at Brigham Young University. I was inspired by his message of gratitude and encouragement that day, and I worked with Bishop Edgley to publish his remarks in BYU President's Report.

I recently came across the article, and it is just as pertinent and inspiring today. Bishop Edgley describes what LDS Philanthropies does and why we do it. He says LDS Philanthropies is all about helping good people do good.

In my work on the LDS Philanthropies communications team, I meet amazing people and get to tell their stories. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to do the work I do.

I have included Bishop Edgley's article below. Enjoy.

 

"You Cannot Keep Good People from Doing Good"

By Bishop Richard C. Edgley

As a donor to Brigham Young University you assist students and help the university fulfill its mission. Every donation, in my judgment, is a widow's mite. Large and small donations both require sacrifice and are given with the desire to help.

Introducing LDS Philanthropies

Every donation to BYU comes through LDS Philanthropies — a department of the Office of the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the fundraising organization of the church.

At BYU, LDS Philanthropies personnel advance fundraising efforts with the colleges, the BYU Annual Fund and the BYU President's Leadership Council.

Organized in 1971 by church leaders to correlate, encourage, facilitate and acknowledge voluntary donations — beyond tithing and fast offerings — LDS Philanthropies was known for many years as LDS Foundation; [in 2005] it was renamed by the First Presidency to better reflect its work.

Often I have observed the result of people's desire to help. For example, years ago the Presiding Bishopric asked for blankets to relieve suffering in Kosovar refugee camps. We had hoped to receive 30,000 blankets that year, but in just 10 months we had more than 125,000 — and they continued to roll in.

The lesson for me didn't stop there; we asked President Gordon B. Hinckley if we should tell church members that the goal had been met and that no more blankets were needed for this cause. "Leave them alone," he said. "You cannot keep good people from doing good." Since then the continued receipt of blankets and quilts has permitted the church to give comfort and blessings to thousands more than ever envisioned.

President Hinckley's statement puts in perspective what LDS Philanthropies is all about: assisting good people who want to help others.

Assisting good people who give

Donations allow the church and BYU to accelerate key programs and projects designated by church leaders as fundraising priorities. Those who give can decide how their donation will be used, or they can donate to general funds to be used when and where the need is greatest.

There are many ways to give through LDS Philanthropies; gifts of cash, securities and real estate are common methods. The staff of LDS Philanthropies can also explain how establishing different types of trusts can benefit BYU and donors. (LDS Philanthropies works closely with the church's trust-management company, Deseret Trust Company.)

One of the attractive elements of donating through LDS Philanthropies is that 100 percent of donated dollars goes to the prescribed purpose — every penny of every donation goes to the cause designated by the giver.

Helping now and in the future 

The majority of the donations that come through LDS Philanthropies are for the church's educational enterprises: BYU, BYU-Hawaii, BYU-Idaho, LDS Business College and the Perpetual Education Fund. The beauty of these donations is that education has generational effects, providing self-sufficiency and new levels of opportunity.

Whenever I am thanked for what the church, including BYU, does to help people I respond that it is not really the church, but the millions of members and friends with generous hearts who donate just because they want to help.

Thank you for giving and helping.

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