Jimmy Lustig is an active philanthropist. He and his wife created the Lustig Family Foundation.

Month: June 2020

Mutual Aid Jimmy Lustig

Mutual Aid

Often times, philanthropy is synonymous with charity. Those who are able to contribute will typically donate money to a cause, which usually takes the form of a non-profit organization. Did you know, however, that there are other ways to get involved that deviate from this framework? This is where mutual aid comes in. 

Mutual aid puts power in the hands of the people. In times of need, communities take on the responsibility for caring for one another rather than requiring individuals to fend for themselves. This form of organization is volunteer-run, transparent, and driven by the needs of the community members. Mutual aid is a symbiotic relationship where all people offer material goods or assistance to one another.

It’s important to distinguish mutual aid from charity. Under charity, a centralized organization serves as an intermediary between the giving and receiving parties where the recipient is often dependent on a relationship negotiating their access to access to resources. Many charities are funded in part by grants, which, in a sense is money with conditions attached. This money, often coming from wealthy individuals or corporations, comes with the intention to address social problems and serve the needy. As a result, however, it is these same entities that decide what strategies should be funded. 

While both charity and mutual aid seek to provide help to those that need it, key differences lie in the underlying structure of both frameworks. Mutual aid builds solidarity by allowing people to work together and participate in shared political education programming. By creating a space where people can come together based on shared need and work closely with those whose experiences differ from their own, mutual aid helps to cultivate solidarity. 

Collective care has existed throughout the history of humanity, but in modern times, this is a radical act. Most recently amid America’s climate of political unrest and the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen examples of mutual aid in action. Mutual aid funds have been circulating to secure donations and redistribute that money to populations made vulnerable by the economic closures resulting from COVID-19. Communities have organized aid groups by collecting and distributing supplies to at-risk populations such as the homeless and minority communities. As one organizer says, “What we need people to understand is that direct outreach and mutual aid is going to keep you safe.” 

Anna Earl J Jb1niw1j0 Unsplash

3 Ways To Give

Giving back is an incredibly important part of society. As far back as the first dated interactions between human beings, helping and giving has been woven into the DNA of who we are. Even animals as majestic as an elephant, or bugs as small as ants work together to better impact the greater collective. With so many ways to give, there can be an insurmountable pressure to give everything away. Or the whole situation can be so overwhelming; we’re not sure what to do. It all starts merely with sowing seeds of kindness, from there giving sprouts.

Make A Stranger’s Day

Sometimes the most simple gestures can make a huge difference in your day. Someone cutting you off in traffic can set you on edge for the rest of the day. In contrast, something as simple as holding the door for someone, helping them carry heavy bags, or spotting someone’s coffee. When you can, take the extra step to improve someone’s day.  

Community Involvement

Community involvement is a beautiful way to give back. Most communities and neighborhoods have a variety of ways to get involved in serving the community. You can act as a mentor at a school, program, or Boys and Girls club. You can get together a team of people to help clean up areas that are littered with trash. Many individuals will volunteer at events or activities around holidays or celebrations. 

Pass It On

The argument for whether helping others is a biological default or learned behavior still confuses sociologists and psychologists alike. Teaching others, especially the next generation, is an ideal way to give in a way that affects society long-term, 

Giving is a natural way to better improve the world around us. Change begins with kindness, and kindness starts with you.

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