Business leaders talk of giving, often anonymously

“I think sometimes in this country we have lost that spirit of giving without expecting something in return.”

By Jon Chavez / The Blade
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 17:00:00 GMT

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Jim Oedy, the owner and co-developer of the Genesis Village retirement complex in Toledo, is a big believer in giving of money, assistance, and time for those less fortunate.

He’s just not much of a believer in any notoriety that comes with giving.

“One of the things I believe in strongly — and we do it here a lot — is anonymous giving,” Mr. Oedy said.

“The reason behind that is several-fold. Over the years through our (New Hope Christian Community) foundation we have found out that when you get somebody a gift and they know it’s from you, it can change the dynamic of the relationship somewhat.

“In a way, they may feel like they’re beholden to you. But when you do anonymous giving, No. 1, they’re grateful and usually it starts with thanking God because there’s no other person that they can identify with. But also, I’ve noticed that when people get an anonymous gift, they’re more likely to pass that philosophy on.”

With the approach of Giving Tuesday, which began in 2012 as an international day of giving in response to the commercialization and consumerism of the post-Thanksgiving season, Mr. Oedy and others have been thinking about how best to help those in need.

“I think sometimes in this country we have lost that spirit of giving without expecting something in return,” Mr. Oedy.

At Munn Wealth Management, an investment firm in Maumee, not only is there a consistent corporate giving philosophy, the company also encourages its 25 employees to be generous by offering to match whatever they give up to 1 percent of their salary — this, at a firm where the payroll exceeds $1 million.

“We believe that it’s important for people to pursue the things they're passionate about. If our employees are passionate about an organization and want to have an impact, we encourage that,” said Darren Munn, CEO and chief investment officer of the firm.

“We say, volunteer, serve on a board, get involved. We think giving back is important for all of us. It’s something everybody should do,” he said. “The reality is we’re all so blessed. We’re tremendously blessed and there are so many people in our world that are hurting.”

Mr. Munn is a proponent of Giving Tuesday and the idea of helping those less fortunate was planted in him early in his career after reading a book, The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn.

“It really speaks to God’s principle of giving. By giving up in this life, we store up God’s treasure in the next life. I like to think that if we give with the right motives, we as a company are blessed,” Mr. Munn said. “And what we’ve found is that when we are faithful and consistent in our giving, we have been very blessed.”

Mr. Munn said even if one isn’t religious, “doing the right thing” has its rewards.

“People can see through bad motives. And I’ve seen a lot people serving on board who have bad motives,” he said. “They join a board thinking they’re going to get more business out of it. And when they don’t, they’re gone like a flash in the pan.

“If you’re giving for the wrong reasons, people will see through that. You have to be giving with the right motive, that is, not giving and expecting a return,” Mr. Munn said.

Mr. Oedy said there’s a great pleasure in giving without the expectation of getting, and sometimes it can be contagious when a group gets that spirit.

A couple who are friends with Mr. Oedy recently turned 80. Rather than have a party, then sent out envelopes containing $80 to all of their friends, asking them to give the money away anonymously to someone in need.

“We know some people who could really use that money, so I called some people and within minutes it was up to $400,” Mr. Oedy said. “It was just a reminder to me of what the idea of giving can do. I’ve got a feeling that this couple’s family and friends were all seeing the value of that $80 and said, ‘Hey, let’s multiply the loaves and the fishes, so to speak.”