"Generosity is an activity that can change the world. It works its magic on one person at a time; then, almost effortlessly, its beautiful multiplying force animates families, friends, communities, cultures, and the world at large.

"Unlike its close cousin, compassion, generosity requires action. To be a generous person, you must act. In many ways, generosity is compassion in action, and it is love in action. It's no surprise that generosity is at the very heart of all the world's major religions.

"Generosity is a practice. And as with anything we practice, we get better at it over time. It's a muscle that needs exercise. Generous actions have impact on the beneficiaries, but they also change the lives of the generous in remarkable ways. Generosity can transform our place in the world and how we live our lives. Generosity can be revolutionary.

"Generosity is often confused with giving. There are many ways to give. We all have something to give — our time, our caring and caretaking, a kind word, a smile, encouragement, material gifts of all kinds. But all giving does not necessarily fit my definition of generosity. You can give with the expectation of receiving acclaim for your gift. You can give to create a certain outcome that will benefit you personally. You can give in order to be in the company of people who will be impressed by your ability to give. And you can give from a generous place in your heart that propels you forward to provide what is needed, with little concern for applause and recognition for yourself.

"Generosity is often quite bold, ignoring the advice of friends and family and moving forward with courage and conviction. Generosity is willing to take risks. In fact, risks have little constraint on a generous heart.

"Generosity invites us to put ourselves in another's shoes, see and feel the existence of a pressing need, realize that it is within our power to help, and then act in whatever way we can. It's really as simple as that."