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Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy

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Civic Reflection

The Center for Civic Reflection (CCR), a national leader in dialogue and reflection, is a programming partner of The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit. CCR uses readings, images and videos to engage people in deep, productive conversation about issues that impact their communities and work in the world—a practice called civic reflection.

CCR describes civic reflection as “any activity that engages people in thinking carefully about their civic choices and commitments.” Developed by Elizabeth Lynn (co-author of the essay, Four Traditions of Philanthropy; themes from the essay are woven into the exhibit), civic reflection has been selected as an integral practice of the exhibition’s programming to enhance participant experiences and learning and to help inspire conscious giving for social change.

Civic Reflection in Conjunction with The Soul of Philanthropy Exhibit

With civic reflection experiences, curated content from The Soul of Philanthropy and the book Giving Back are central to program designs. Thought-provoking photography, short stories and other resonant objects from the exhibition are used to open discussion and stir questions about philanthropy and civic engagement. Civic reflection discussion helps people talk more comfortably about values, think more deeply about choices and respond more imaginatively to the needs of their communities.

Civic Reflection Facilitator Training

Organizations that present and/or host The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit can offer civic reflection training to their staff, volunteers and students. Training participants can then serve as facilitators for local programming related to the exhibit. CCR has trained 7,000+ people to facilitate discussions in their organizations and communities, and led 20,000+ people in public, community and workplace dialogues.

Reflecting on The Soul of Philanthropy

Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited delves into why and how people give and what spurs generosity to compel us toward conscious giving for social change.

By touring the exhibition The Soul of Philanthropy and studying its photography, prose and poetry, participants will engage in:

  1. Reframing portraits of philanthropy
  2. Creating a giving autobiography
  3. Examining the four traditions of philanthropy
  4. Exploring a mix of approaches for more powerful giving
  5. Experiencing the value of reflective discussion

Up to 25 participants (Concordia University students, faculty and staff; MRG Foundation staff and volunteers; general public

Learning Outcomes
Following this facilitated experience, participants will be able to:

  1. Define philanthropy in fundamental and inclusive ways
  2. Compose and articulate their own giving autobiography
  3. Compare and contrast the four traditions of philanthropy
  4. Apply the exhibit’s concepts about “the most potent philanthropy”
  5. Recognize how dialogue and reflection can be productive in expanding our ideas,  influencing our choices and responding more effectively to our communities

Session Outline

Start without a Start
My Giving Autobiography
Hand out – Co-Facilitators bios (Martin Luther quote)

Welcome and opening remarks
Session Overview
Hand-out – Course outline

Civic Reflection Discussion A: Reframing Philanthropy
Dora’s Hands
A Bed for the Night
Hand-out - Dora’s hands and A Bed for the Night

Synopsis of the essay “Four Traditions of Philanthropy"
Hand-out – Printed essay and copy of Philanthropy groups/matrix


Civic Reflection Discussion
Truth Be Told
Civic Reflections Discussion – Readings from the Soul of Philanthropy stories
Hand-out – Copy of Truth Be Told and Soul of Philanthropy stories

Concluding Considerations
What this means for you and your community
About Civic Reflection
Thank you for attending/dismissal

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.