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From the Editor-in-Chief

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For me, like many people, the holiday season stirs up a variety of emotions. The joys of Christmas music, decorating, baking, wrapping, and binge-watching of classic movies are experiences to which I look forward every year. But the truth is that when those first (ever-earlier) signs of the holidays start showing up, I hate to admit that my first reaction is sadness. 

When I was a kid, the holidays were the most glaring reminder of shortfalls for my family: food, clothes, toys - and sometimes simply shelter and utilities. By the grace of strangers, gifts and food nearly always arrived, but the pervasive sadness, shame, and humility of being in a constant state of need never seemed to leave.

I’ve written before about my first act of philanthropy as an adult: adopting an angel from the same Salvation Army program that had provided for me so many times. The pure joy of wrapping and delivering the gifts (I may have gone a bit overboard) is a feeling I carry with me today, each time I am able to give back to someone else. Recently, this phenomenon was aptly explained to me at a Columbus Academy donor appreciation event by the speaker, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. Tal is a world-recognized expert on happiness. He not only teaches on the topic (his class has become the most popular at Harvard), he has co-founded the Happiness Studies Academy with a mission to “lead the happiness revolution”. Tal cited various studies that have proven the lasting psychological benefits of donations of time and resources. Check it out at

The compilation of this year’s edition of  Sophisticated Giving was made possible by several generous people and organizations: our ever-gracious and patient Art Director, Jason Yann; our presenting sponsor, a catalyst and facilitator for the incredible generosity for which central Ohio has become known, The Columbus Foundation; the tireless professionals who make up the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter (whose National Philanthropy Day Celebrate Giving Luncheon we are proud to

support); and Easton Town Center. Read on to catch a glimpse of the people, places, and organizations who find happiness in giving to benefit others in our community.

You’ll see next to this letter two photos: one of me at my first birthday, and one of me today. I keep the baby photo in a frame on my desk, a reminder not only of how far I have come, but of a little girl who didn’t choose her circumstances - a little girl who often didn’t know that things could have (maybe should have) been better, and for whom the gift of giving has infinitely surpassed the gifts she has received. May you and yours find some time during the holidays and throughout the year to truly realize all of the wonderful gifts of giving.

Amelia Jeffers
Editor in Chief

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