Donor finds meaning through giving

June 29, 2017

It’s called the “giving high” – the feeling you get when you’ve done something that is going to make a difference. In 2016, individuals in the U.S. must have been feeling pretty good after giving a record $280 billion dollars to charitable organizations, according to Giving USA 2017. 

The key to achieving the “giving high,” according to Raejean Kanter, ’85, who is both a donor and a not-for-profit executive, is to appreciate that collectively every gift counts and to focus your giving in a meaningful way.  Kanter has long believed in developing your own personal mission statement and when it comes to philanthropy she feels that is a good place to start.

“I am who I am because of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi,” says Kanter, who believes in using philanthropy to show appreciation and create a lasting legacy for people who are important to you.  In the past, Kanter named the rocking room at Meta House, a residential facility for women dealing with drug addition, “Gigi’s Place” in memory of her mother who “loved babies.”  She supported the laundry room at Repairers of the Breach in memory of her husband who always took care of the rather mundane but critically important things in life.

In searching to make a personally meaningful gift to Stritch, Kanter established an endowed scholarship in her own name to support students participating in a university-sponsored international experience.  Kanter recognizes that her love of international travel has provided her children and grandchildren with opportunities to personally experience other cultures. 

“Looking at what I thought helped my own children, an opportunity to travel gave them a broader perspective in life,” says Kanter.  “Knowing that Stritch is a first-generation school, I realize it might be difficult for many students to have an international experience. I want helping them experience other cultures to be my personal legacy at Stritch.”

A woman devoted to the Franciscan principle of putting values in action, this summer Kanter is launching the first in a series of children’s books to help young children learn about other cultures to foster a greater understanding of inclusion. Readers will join Grandma Book as she travels the world visiting children who share information about their culture, beginning with the TET holiday in Vietnam.    

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