The Kiwanis International Foundation recently talked with Francine Pease about why she supports our foundation and what philanthropy means to her. Here are some of her observations, in her own words.
The big picture
My passion is the children, which is wonderful because our motto is serving the children of the world. I’m a retired school teacher and I certainly love children. I am the Key Club advisor, I’m the Builder’s Club advisor. So, when I’m involved with Kiwanis, I’m part of my former profession; I’m still a teacher, but I can do it in a different way.
I’ve had so many Kiwanis moments—just being part of a club and going to a meeting every week makes me realize that I’m part of a bigger picture. And when I get involved with Kiwanis on the international level, I realize what a big picture it is. My Kiwanis moments are when I realize that I’m part of an international foundation, an international group that affects everybody in the whole world. Those are my Kiwanis moment—realizing little me can make a difference in the world.
Support from the start
I’m just a school teacher, but I give back because I’m one of eight children and six of us have advanced degrees. And the only reason we have those advanced degrees is because people were willing to give to us so we could go to school, so we could become productive citizens. And I feel it’s time to give back.
And I have really become philanthropic while I’ve been a part of Kiwanis. Yes, I give money to Kiwanis, and I give a lot of money to the community—usually things that involve children. And one reason I’m so passionate about The Eliminate Project is because it deals with the safety of women and children.
Giving back to those less fortunate
My first my big donation was to The Eliminate Project. To be honest, I hadn’t really focused on the international foundation. But then when the Kiwanis International Foundation took on The Eliminate Project, I thought, “This is mine!” It’s has everything I believe in: women, children, helping the poor. You know many of us have been poor, but in this country, we have so many opportunities. It’s nice to give back to people in other countries who aren’t as lucky as we are.
And when I give it to someone who can truly use it, I think my money is well spent. And remember, I was a teacher, so my money comes from the public. Isn’t it nice that part of my salary can go back to repay the public who so generously paid my salary all those years? Yes it is.
One person can make a difference
You know what stuns me? I can’t believe everyone isn’t standing in line to give to our foundation for all the wonderful things it does, including The Eliminate Project. I want people to understand that we’re part of a bigger picture, we’re part of the world. That is something I would even talk to my students about years ago. It’s not just all about you. It’s about the whole world. Everyone should give. They will feel good about it. And they will make a difference in the world and just one person can make a difference. Even ten dollars, twenty dollars; better to spend that money on something that affects everyone.