Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll
There is something about Linda Grant — something that shines, sparkles and most of all radiates optimism. It is her smile – an open, genuine statement of being present and engaged that makes all who know her (and even those who don’t) want to get a little closer. I will admit, I am new to the Linda Grant fan club, our connection is rather recent (in relative terms, though someone really tickled me recently sharing a comparison of time in SM years v. real years) but completely irreplaceable. Just last weekend, at Getting Gorgeous in New York during BlogHer, Linda walked up to me — smiling and stunning in her pink polka-dots - she was literally asking “what’s next”. Two things happened 1. I look her picture because really I wanted to capture her beauty and energy and 2. I hugged her in a big, “don’t you ever disappear” kind of way. Meet Linda Grant — and you will see why she has earned a non-negotiable spot on the philanthropic Moms Honor Roll!
What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?
That is a tough question because I am a defacto Philantropic Mom who is very much committed to select few causes that I know will bring about change in people’s lives but I don’t always give my time on a consistent basis but in spurts.
What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?
I can remember coming home during a Thanksgiving break to visit family and having my dad communicate to my siblings and I that we would be serving Thanksgiving dinner at the homeless shelter. Now my dad had always been involved in community affairs but I can’t say that my siblings and I shared his commitment. However, that event opened my eyes and not because I was naive to homelessness but that in the our affluent neighborhood sat a homeless shelter for women and their children. Mind you it was a very nice homeless shelter but who knew and that is the point, none of us knew. Homelessness is everywhere even in the suburbs.
Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?
A family friend, my surrogate Mom, Susan Ungerer who took care of my siblings and I after my parents passed way. Susan is a retired schoolteacher who with her fellow retired school teachers saw that kids in our hometown of Reston, Virginia did not have the basic school supplies and founded Kids R First. Kids R First provides kids from families in need with their supplies at the beginning of each new school year and mini-scholarships for College or Career Bound kids helps to lay a greater foundation for organizational skills, academic success with enhanced self esteem and opportunities for success beyond high school. What amazes me is that what started as an organization that started in our community as quickly expanded through the state.
What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?
That after years of sitting on the sidelines that I am finally committing more of my time.
What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?
Instilling in my daughter that she can make a change.
What would your kids say about all of this?
“I want to help.”