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Today, we mark Sir John Templeton’s birthday. It is appropriate that Sir John’s birthday this year falls on Giving Tuesday, which is an innovation Sir John would have loved. He counted generosity as one of the 19 virtues that the John Templeton Foundation ought to study and promote.

Sir John understood generosity as giving more than is expected. He wrote that “no matter how well or how poorly our lives seem to be going, we can become part of a greater flow of good and increase our awareness by doing something more than we have to do—by giving of ourselves.”

Sir John also saw generosity as a way of giving thanks for one’s possessions, talents, and blessings. “It is my philosophy that what I am given—in terms of my abilities, my intelligence and my material success—should be returned to the world in some form that will help others . . . the solution to great wealth is to give life.” But Sir John was not referring solely to financial generosity. He also said:

“Practice giving in every area of life... Give thoughtful, well-reasoned advice. Give thanks. Give attention. Give prizes and honors. If you are lonely give. If you are bored, give. Take on charitable jobs. Help with fundraising.”

Please join us in celebrating Sir John Templeton’s birthday today by reflecting on the importance of embracing the virtue of generosity.

Still Curious?

Learn more about our founder, Sir John Templeton.