One Childhood Lesson That Sticks with Me

From a young age, I was taught that it is more blessed to give than to receive . . .

. . . and over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom behind those simple words.

You see, one of the founding principles of NICABM is to give back and do what we can to make this world a better place.

And I can vouch for how gratifying it is to support the good work that so many people and organizations are doing.

So I’m sharing our list here in the hopes that it will inspire others.

Here’s what we’ve given this year:

  • $55,036 – Charity Water
  • $35,000 – Save The Children
  • $16,000 – The Citizens Foundation
  • $6,000 – UCONN Foundation (Jorgenson)
  • $5,000 – Amnesty International
  • $5,000 – Community Foundation of Eastern CT (Windham Womens and Girls Fund)
  • $5,000 – Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network
  • $5,000 – Covenant Soup Kitchen
  • $5,000 – Direct Relief
  • $5,000 – GLAD
  • $5,000 – Habitat for Humanity
  • $5,000 – Holy Family Home & Shelter
  • $5,000 – Human Rights Campaign
  • $5,000 – Human Rights Watch
  • $5,000 – International Rescue Committee
  • $5,000 – Joshua’s Trust
  • $5,000 – Oxfam America
  • $5,000 – Salvation Army
  • $5,000 – Smile Train
  • $5,000 – Windham Area Interfaith Ministry
  • $5,000 – Windham No Freeze Shelter
  • $2,000 – Alzheimer’s Association
  • $2,000 – Barre Center for Buddhist Studios
  • $2,000 – Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC
  • $2,000 – Sierra Club
  • $2,000 – World Wildlife Foundation
  • $1,000 – Benton Art Museum
  • $1,000 – Day Kimball Foundation
  • $1,000 – Friends of Ecole Agape
  • $1,000 – Michigan State University
  • $1,000 – Provincetown Art Association and Museum
  • $1,000 – Taylor University
  • $1,000 – UCONN Foundation
  • $300 – March of Dimes
  • $200 – Go Fund Me – Accident Victim Recovery Fund
  • $200 – Mansfield Downtown Partnership
  • $200 – Mansfield Holiday Fund
  • $125 – The Vernon Chorale

Total: $215,061

As I look over this list, I already hope to exceed this next year.

That’s why we’ll be announcing our Holiday Special very shortly.

It’s a favorite tradition at NICABM to lower the price of one of our programs and also give half of the proceeds to charity.

I’ll have more to say about that soon.

But in the meantime, I’d love to hear about the good work that you support during this season of giving. Please tell me about it in the comments below.


Please Leave A Comment



  1. Jane says:

    Janet, who wrote about the gift she received today:
    I am happy for the gift you just received of your own place to call home that you have been needing for so long. I can feel your determination to make things work despite the great hardships you have suffered. Yet even now, on the day you finally found your new apartment, you also gave—by taking the time to thank Ruth and to wish Peace and Love to all.

  2. Jane says:

    It’s funny. Lately, without conscience intention, the people in my life who have been so very generous have been coming to mind. A good friend from years ago easily opened her home to near strangers in real need for a place to stay for weeks, or months, at a time. I recalled my former husband who gave to others in private and without any expectation of ever receiving it back; while professionally, creating programs, and later entire university centers, dedicated to intergroup dialogues that address divisions of all kinds in our society.
    I think about my father who continued to love all of his adult children, but was especially devoted to my older, developmentally disabled sister until the time of his death. And now I learn about these other ways you give, Ruth, beyond the many things you give to professionals and non-professionals alike throughout the year.
    The people I have listed here are but a few of millions of people who give in ways big and small. And at a time when we are in special need for hope and light, not only in the U.S. but all around this world. Every word and deed, whether known to others or not, make a difference in someone’s life. Thank you, Ruth, for all you give.

  3. Anne Stokes Hochberg says:

    I was glad to see several orgs I donate to on your list – Charity: Water, Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam America, the Sierra Club, and WWF. I give small amounts to many, but some of the larger ones are Earthjustice, CLUE-LA, Doctors without Borders, NRDC, Mercy Ships, the Carter Center, and several local orgs who promote nature or help those in need of food or other economic support.

  4. I am a clinical psychologist in South Africa, and I provide psychological advice as the advice columnist for the Cape Community Newspapers on a biweekly basis. These community newspapers are circulated in the greater Cape Flats area in Cape Town. Since its inception 3 years ago, community members who are mostly poverty stricken have responded positively and appreciate the psychological advice provided to their questions as well as providing them with input on various psychological problems including how to recognise depression, anxiety and grief, as well as more severe psychopathology and also where to seek help when these conditions overwhelm them or their family members. I have heard from various people that even the police force as well as school staff use my articles to seek greater understanding of psychological or emotional problems that beset community members they deal with on a daily basis. The editor of the newspaper has expressed her deep gratitude for the professional help I provide through the column and often wish they could pay me a decent salary but there is not sufficient money for this. I feel this is part of my ‘calling’ and the act of providing this support is in itself deeply rewarding for me. I deeply appreciate the good work that you do and together we can make this world a better place, more loving, more compassionate, more connected soul to soul. With lovingkindness thoughts and wishes to ALL

  5. Elaine Dolan says:

    This season has been one of letting go, because I’m moving. All my plants are going
    to friends, the oak lowboy is going to my neighbor, this wonderful carved bowl that looks
    like a turtle was given to my dear Buddhist compadre for her altar, I put out an unopened
    bottle of Vodka and three bags of coffee bean–which was scoffed up before I was aware of it,
    I gave a load of my belongings to the Goodwill.

    Favorite charities? Nothing but Nets, Habitat for Humanity, Amnesty Int., Heifer International, Smile Train, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund….and lately I feel to give to the truth-telling journalists who are getting a bad wrap in this Admin.

  6. Carol steinberg says:

    I too was brought up in a culture of giving..
    My parents who did not live lavishly donated to
    A nursing home which bears their name.
    It still surpises and pleases me now that they
    Are no longer here.. to think of their good deed.
    My husband and give to hospitals etc
    Which feels right. We don’t drive
    Expensive cars and such nonsense.
    Keep up your good work.

  7. Ruthie says:

    Enriched by caring and giving
    I am keeping it simple at home –
    Supported charities helping
    Syrian , Yemeni and Rohingya children
    and our local homeless shelter
    Let us all do what we can to make our world a better place

  8. Janet Spittler says:

    Thank you for changing my life and all the wonderful organizations that you touch and making the lives if others be touched and changed with these programs and organizations to heal the planet in positive ways.. Unfortunately I’m not able to purchase anything now. I received a gift today of finding a new apartment after looking for 8 months.. I’m not going to be homeless and am moving Fort Pierce, Fl with the help of a shelter +care HUD grant and me paying 1/3, + saving. some funds to pay for a move..and hopefully a bed, table and chairs. Peace and Love to all. It certainly would be a different USA+world yo help others with a no Cost gift of Kindness!

    • Jane says:

      Janet, I am happy for the gift you just received of your own place to call home that you have been needing for so long. I can feel your determination to make things work despite the great hardships you have suffered. Yet even now, on the day you finally found your new apartment, you also gave—by taking the time to thank Ruth and to wish Peace and Love to all.

  9. Luann says: and St Jude and the Inn

  10. Marcia says:

    That is so wonderful and what better time than to remind us all that the generosity of others makes life more worthwhile. All my years in doing private practice even though my full time job only allowed for part time private practice hours I still did pro bono work for past 25 years when folks had no insurance. Even my agency work allowed me to do groups for clients whose insurance did not allow for groups, adjunct to their private counseling work. The state and national funding got involved doing remarkable subsidizing sexual assault groups. The mental health field is worth our time and low pay to know we have helped those in need year after year. I have been lucky to have been educated in the midwest where family counseling began with also the east coast and every year I invest my own money to buy specialized games to help bond families and children to work together in these special endeavors. This year my plan is to add a game for families on grief and loss. These special therapeutic games are so unifying and I hope this age of computers does not minimize that enriching time together. So far I have faired well with children and parents. I wish I had the time, space and equipment to do more groups for parents and sexual assault victims as I have seen the polyvagal nerve of which Porges speaks, improve social healing. Groups do that so well. I think the insurance companies need to get on the ball with this need. Happy Holidays from Washington State!

  11. Kirsten says:

    Wonderful at to pass it on. Thank you.

  12. Karen says:

    Wonderful to see where you share with others. I am a care service provider and have benefited from all you share. I have been on disability so can’t sign up for the full class. I still am learning from the brief excerpts. Thank you. The world is evolving and so is psychology.

  13. Grethe says:

    How wonderful to have done all that. I received your message after shopping in town, talking to a lovely man sitting in the street, homeless, who had served in the last war, then coming home depressed, wondering if the shift would occur through the self disgust of materialistic nations. To find your message: there is another way!

  14. T R Nicholls says:

    You and the contribution you make have inspired me since I’ve known of your work around 2011 AND now I see this list of financial contributions as well. I’m am so moved! I have no words.

  15. For me, I do little things with clients, like giving them more time when needed.

  16. K says:

    Thank you so much for this it is so nice to see people helping other people. I would love to be in a position to do the same one day. it’s very encouraging to know that people are out there making a difference!

  17. Cindy Nelson says:

    This is so wonderful and inspiring to see, Ruth. God bless you for your generosity!

  18. Thank you for all the philanthropic work that you do. Your video classes have helped me personally and professionally with my clients. I work tirelessly to educate the public on the plight of elephants. They are going extinct secondary to ivory poaching. These sentient beings keep ecosystems running smoothly as they can dig for water in drought, and plant trees through their dung; so they keep many other animals alive. The price of ivory exceeds the price of gold. Ivory poaching comes in third In the world for global crime;only after the arms trade , and human trafficking, and is directly related to funding terrorism.
    I’d be honored to fly out at my own expense and show you a short but informative PowerPoint that educates on the plight of the elephant. (I’ve worked in elephant field research in Namibia, given numerous workshops, sign petitions, catch poachers on live video, and sit on the Advisory Board for Voice for Asian Elephant Society ( I’m currently researching Compassion Fatigue in Elephant Advocacy.

  19. Wow! I had no idea! Very impressive!

  20. I am the CEO of the Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma and Peace (CWWPP). We have been in the Balkans since June 1995. We give counseling to whoever comes to our door, physical or virtual, without charge. We also give courses onsite and online, also without charge, to people who wish to become “barefoot counselors”, dealing with the trauma of war. Presently, in this region, we are seeing a great deal of trans-generational transmission of trauma and negative narratives. We see these issues being ignored by the international and national communities. Another major issue in this part of the world is that of asylum seekers and refugees. Again, no one is giving psychological assistance to these highly traumatized people, most of whom still are underway, on the long-term basis that they need. There also is no assistance given to them to integrate into the receiving communities. We would welcome experts out there contacting us to form a working group of individuals and organizations. Please see our website for more details.

  21. My husband and I give to the Tennison Center in Denver, CO. They help many children who deal with abuse and help their families also.

  22. Rennie Garda says:

    Thank you for your living what you teach….giving back makes all the more rich in our hearts and minds and
    souls. Thank you for the gift to Taylor our alma mater. you are a living legacy.

    Merry Christ…mas
    2 Corinthians 9:15

  23. Ken Werner says:

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful list of giving. I could feel my spirits lift as I soaked it in. Thank you.

  24. ann Stern says:

    This year my husband was asked by a Head Start Teacher to provide warm winter coats for her students. We found gently used coats in varies sizes, all with hoods since the kids stand outside and wait for the bus. We washed them up to three times each and made sure all small imperfections got mended. Each child was able to pick out the coat they wanted. Now when I am in that community and I see small children in need of warmer coats I have the desire to keep this project going.

  25. Jody Layton says:

    Wow Ruth…NICABMs list walks your legacy of giving And reflects eclectic good works many of which also resonate with what heals and enriches as often themed in your programs. It was very cool to see the generosity and discernment and diversity respected thru your guided giving.

    Here is one of m8ne to meet and consider on your 2018 list.
    The National Association To Protect Children…( is unique in work of its mission and has determined effectiveness of achievments. It engages across typical lines of division, and often achieves success,and thus is powerful. In example, its HERO corps was formed by partnering with U.S. Special Operations Command and Department of Homeland Security to train wounded warriors with a new mission and purpose…that of counter-child-exploitation and digital forensics. After intensive, cross field training, these warriors now fight on behalf of children, embedded with law enforcement units that track and fight child exploitation and frequently enable saving kids.
    Many blessings to all as we close this year and launch a new one…may Happy, Merry and Peace
    emmanate and radiate within and beyond.

  26. Jean Chandler says:

    That is a very impressive list. Thanks for sharing it. I also make a list around Thanksgiving time to see if there are areas I haven’t given as much to as I would like to and to see if my giving amounts to roughly 10% of my income (good old-fashioned tithe!).
    And thanks too for all the good work you do year-round, including making your programs available for a limited time to those of us who can’t afford to pay for them but are interested in the vital topics you address. I am a retired academic, teacher of psychology as well as other subjects. Now I lead meditation retreats and help refugees, who are often deeply affected by trauma. So your latest series on trauma informed me of the newest work being done in that field. But I must admit it also made me less confident of what I might do as a non-therapist to help my new friends. It was important to find out that meditation is not always good for those who have experienced trauma. Is that the case even if they are not asked to close their eyes? They can’t afford to go for treatment to these experts like Ron Siegel and Tara Brach, some of whom are even in our geographical area, and we don’t know how to find someone good who is doing pro bono work. It would help if untrained people knew what to watch out for and what to be careful of. Thank you again for your important work and for the attitude in which you do it.

  27. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Congratulations on your list of giving. It has been an inspiration to know that you are making a difference by giving the world access to your community of caring folks who have such skills and knowledge to help heal a world one conversation at a time.
    My favourite charity that I have supported is ABCD ( Art Building Children’s Dreams) I had the opportunity to travel and meet the folks.. It changed my world view.
    My sincere appreciation for your sharing

    My fondest regards,
    Brenda Caldwell
    Hopsice RN

  28. Rachele Trujillo says:

    I support COPE which is a support group for family and friends of murder victims organized by Lorrain Taylor, the Democratic National Party under various names, and Together We Stand who fights for social justice with Black Lives Matter, against police brutality and helping single under priveliged mothers. Also have supported Mary Nagel and family in Oregon. She and her husband are disabled with five kids. I’ve adopted them for Christmas. My best friend’s come from First They Came for the Homeless in Berkeley where I enjoy mutually beneficial interactions. I also support wholistic Medicine and 12 step groups and those recovering from anything.

  29. Karen Lilley says:

    Thank you for this list – I had no idea! I grew up like you, Ruth, taking great joy in giving. We lost Dad in February and Mom is now in hospice, close to the end. This is our first Christmas without them! Gifts and celebration are short – no cards went out this year. But my husband and I found Ryland Ward, 5yrs old, still hospitalized after the TX shooting. He was shot 5 times, lost his step-mom and two sisters and has asked for Christmas cards. We sent gift cards to him, his “big” sister, Dad and grandmother along with 3 tin Angels, and a letter with photos of our goofy black lab. Candy, of course, will fall out of the package when he opens it. We gave to American Humane, which trains rescue dogs to help veterans cope with their PTSD. On Christmas Day, our families will make the rounds at Mom’s nursing home with bushels of Christmas Cheer – antlers, Santa Hats, Ellf Hats, bobbleheads, bling, and funny glasses… will be fun to watch them giggle! Yes, it’s always better to give than receive … it fills our hearts and we can always find a sparkle of joy in any pain. Thanks for all YOU do, Ruth!

  30. Such an inspirational list of kind generosity. Thank you Nicabm.

    Rokpa South Africa
    The profound bond between a mother and child is at the heart of our social fabric. How do we support vulnerable mothers and infants when they are struggling to support themselves and their newborns? This is a brief look at the efforts of Rokpa Cape Town’s volunteers in supporting mothers in crisis through a unique partnership with the staff and social workers of Mowbray Maternity Hospital. This is an inspirational story about caring and helping where help is needed.

  31. Deborah Pike says:

    Listening space to acknowledge the feeling of parents of children from 0-5 years.
    A welcoming smile to all I have dealings with.
    Merry Christmas and a Joyous New year xxx

  32. Why are you giving to the Salvation Army? It preaches hate against the GLBTQ community?

    • larry says:

      To Dr. Cassandra I say who among us is without sin, judge not lest you be judged. That is a quote coming from an atheist but well spoken. Sounds like a bit of hate in your heart, let it go.

      Happy Holidays Ruth, keep up the extraordinarily good work you and your team are doing.

  33. roy says:

    That is a phenomenal amount of giving.
    what a truly wonderful legacy your parents left you.

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