Opinion

Generosity abounds

Blythe Roycroft with the Cary Ballet Company, teaches students during Pli? All Day, an outreach program that hopes to bring dance to women's shelters throughout the Triangle. The program spent Thursday, April 20, 2017, at the women's shelter for the Durham Rescue Mission.
Blythe Roycroft with the Cary Ballet Company, teaches students during Pli? All Day, an outreach program that hopes to bring dance to women's shelters throughout the Triangle. The program spent Thursday, April 20, 2017, at the women's shelter for the Durham Rescue Mission. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Looking back on this week, we can’t help but be struck by several instances of generosity that appeared on the pages of The Herald-Sun.

There was, for example, the $5 million gift from the Switzerland-based Oak Foundation — which has a U.S. office in Chapel Hill — to a Carrboro nonprofit that has helped at least 20,000 children born with clubfoot. MiracleFeet, founded seven years ago by parents whose children were born with the congenital condition, raises money to train medical staff and equip clinics in remote parts of the world.

The treatment is relatively inexpensive — about $250 a child. “In the world of public health, when you think about all the problems that the world is facing, they’re so complex, and this one isn’t complex — it’s relatively straightforward — and for a relatively small investment, we can solve it,” says Chesca Colloredo-Mansfield, MiracleFeet’s executive director and co-founder.

Sometimes, generosity takes the form not of money, but of time and talent. That was the case recently when the Cary Ballet Company visited the Durham Rescue Mission’s Good Samaritan Inn family shelter to help instill a love for dance. The ballet company hopes to take their passion for dance to women’s shelters throughout the Triangle.

The 18 girls and boys the company worked with at the Good Samaritan Inn all got new ballet shoes, and for many of them, it was the first time they had ever seen a ballet performance or tried the dance moves. Tia Harris, 29, whose 4-year-old daughter, Zimora, took part in the workshop probably spoke for many of the mothers.

I’ve always wanted to get my daughter into dance. She loves dance, she loves music.

Tia Harris, mother of 4-year-old Zimora

“I’ve always wanted to get my daughter into dance,” she said. “She loves dance, she loves music.”

And sometimes, generosity comes in almost staggering amounts. Many people give sums — some small, some quite large — to the college or university where they received an education, often spent life-changing years and may well have been launched into their careers.

Few have the kind of career success combined with the spirit of generosity that David Rubenstein has. A 1970 Duke graduate, Rubenstein in recent years has donated more than $100 million to the university.

His latest gift, $20 million, will endow a year-old scholarship program aimed at benefiting first-generation college students who come from “under-resourced” high schools. The son of a Baltimore postal worker and the first in his family to attend college, Rubenstein said he “certainly would have benefited” from such a program in his college days.

It’s been a good week around here for gifts large and small, all of which are helping shape lives.

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