In less than one week, I have the pleasure to speak with Jeremy Meltzer, founder of i=Change, at ‘The Business of Giving Back’ event hosted by the NAB at Docklands, Melbourne. I see our partnership with i=Change as very special and important to our business practice.
As an entrepreneur and business owner living in Australia, I feel so incredibly grateful and blessed for the opportunities and choices that I have been given along my journey to grow my business. I feel that it is our duty to give back to those less fortunate so that others around the world can be given the tools and support to make their dreams come true.
In April 2010, a group of world leaders came together at the Life and Mind Institute in Zurich to discuss the connection between economics and our quest for happiness.
After the meeting, one of the participants, His Holiness the Dalai Lama noted in the book Caring Economics by Tania Singer and Matthieu Ricard that “Questions of fairness and more equitable distribution, as well as larger social and environmental impacts, need to be taken into account”. Importantly, he also noted, “ethics and compassion in economics are equally important; after all, economics involves human activity and the basic goal of promoting greater happiness and alleviate suffering” – a concept that is not often at the forefront of the mind when one contemplates the term ‘economics’.
He also presented an interesting premise whilst speaking in Zurich: “I often tell people that we should eliminate the notion of ‘they’. ‘We’ should be enough; the whole world is part of we”. Research shows that people feel a greater sense of happiness, purpose and connectedness when we give. “Being kind and generous leads you to perceive others more positively and more charitably,” writes Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness, and this “fosters a heightened sense of interdependence and cooperation in your social community.”
In a 2006 study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health (U.S.A.) discovered that when people support charities, it activates areas of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior – doing something for selfless reasons – releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.” Several studies have also shown proven health benefits in those who volunteer or provide social support to others.
Giving is actually good for your health!
Giving doesn’t have to be purely altruistic though. We’ve all heard of ‘karma’, right? Well, what if I told you that karma was a scientific phenomenon? Several studies, including work by sociologists Brent Simpson and Robb Willer, have suggested that when you give to others, your generosity is likely to be rewarded by others in the future—sometimes by the person you gave to, sometimes by someone else.
The act of giving has also been linked to the release of oxytocin, (the hormone also released during sex and breast feeding) that induces feelings of warmth, euphoria, and connection to others that can last up to two hours. The director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, Paul Zak, has found when on our ‘oxytocin high’ we are likely to jumpstart a “virtuous cycle, where one person’s generous behavior triggers another’s”. So in that sense, giving is contagious! When we give, we aren’t just helping the immediate recipient of our kindness; we spur a ripple effect of kindness throughout our community that can jump from one person to the next to the next.
So whether you think of it as just shopping, altruistic giving, or giving for karma’s sake, we believe we all must jump on board i=Change and do what we can to continuously think of our fellow sister, her situation and her aspirations, and actively contribute through an economy of caring and giving to nurture hope and personal satisfaction for all.
Shopping with Cristina Re
Unlike many experiences in retail and online stores where you may be asked to contribute an additional charity donation at the point of sale, when you shop with Cristina Re, we will donate one dollar from every purchase to your choice of three organisations:
Which global development projects can I choose from?
The team at Cristina Re have selected three life-changing projects to contribute to both locally and abroad:
Childwise is working to prevent child abuse and protect children, here in Australia. This wonderful organisation helps to create a society where children can grow up free from abuse, because at present, an estimated 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused in Australia.
When you support UN Women, you are helping to end violence against women. This organization is protecting women and girls in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, where up to 100% of women experience violence regularly and many are beaten on a daily basis. Women are also known to be sexually harassed at markets, preventing them from doing business. When women are safe from violence, entire communities and economies flourish.
By supporting Care, you are helping to feed a community and provide clean water in rural Cambodia. Some of Cambodia’s poorest are vulnerable rural women whose families live in extreme poverty. CARE is assisting these communities access safe drinking water, reduce the time women and girls spend collecting water, learn healthy sanitation practices, and find new ways to access nutritious food all year round.
If you would like to hear Cristina speak and learn more about her partnership with i=Change, or know other businesses that could benefit from joining this innovative new tech platform, we invite you to attend the free upcoming event on Wednesday 19th October, 2016
FREE Event: 6pm, Wednesday 19 Oct, The Arena, Docklands.
Above: Cristina Re | Jeremy Meltzer, Founder of i=Change | Tanya Austin, CEO of Decjuba (another i=Change brand) | Steve Betinsky, GM of Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.