If Gideon Bernstein has one theme in life, it is surely ‘giving.’ A founding partner of Leisure Capital Management and our Chief Investment Officer, he spends many of his days helping our clients grow and protect their wealth. Much of the rest of his time is spent helping them—and many others—find ways to give their time, money, and resources to help people and causes in need. In 2021, he took that mission to a whole new level, earning a designation as a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) and publishing his first book on charitable giving, Giving: A Handbook to Happiness for the Modern Philanthropist.
“I chose to study for the CAP designation to ensure I had the best possible toolkit to assist clients who want to create a personal and powerful strategic giving plan,” says Gideon. “The in-depth training I received has helped me refine my approach to helping individuals and families examine and articulate what they want to achieve through charitable giving, and then create a strategy that meets their goals for society.” Another benefit of the CAP designation is that it is a clear indicator of Gideon’s commitment to philanthropy—even for anyone who is not familiar with his volunteer work, personal generosity, and work serving on local non-profit boards helping organizations achieve their philanthropic missions.
Earning the CAP designation required rigorous studying, but the truly momentous undertaking was taking ‘Giving’ from an idea in his head to becoming a published book. There is plenty to share about the rapid success of the book (it has been featured as a ‘Hot New Release’ on Amazon since December 1, and is currently the #1 New Release in the Nonprofit Organizations & Charities sector), but Gideon’s introduction for the book tells the story best:
I wrote much of this book in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Little did any of us know when we rang in the New Year on December 31st that we would all be required to ‘shelter in place’ and stay at home for more than a year—or that future variants would further delay our return to normal far into 2021 and beyond.
So many people across the globe lost loved ones, and everyone who survives this era will forever be affected by its impact. Jobs were lost. Businesses were shuttered, in many cases permanently. Governments around the world took desperate measures to keep society functioning. The situation was far beyond anything we could have comprehended until we were in the thick of it.
Luckily, we were able to find silver linings in this strange new world. Isolation forced us to contemplate the meaning of our lives—to think deeply about what was important, and to remember how precious each life is. COVID-19 also served as a global call to help others. Never have so many individuals taken personal, immediate action to try to save jobs, save lives, and support frontline workers. Calls to action permeated social media. Remote concerts (without live audiences) were held to raise funds. Billionaires funded private jet delivery of N-95 masks and ventilators to hospitals. At a time when so many people were in need, the concept of giving became one of the unifiers of our society during one of the most polarizing eras in recent times.
This book was written to remind everyone, everywhere of the importance of giving—and to provide insights and strategies to encourage people of all levels of wealth to continue to give and make an impact and difference in this world long after the coronavirus is behind us. During the pandemic, giving meant delivering a hot meal or groceries to the elderly like my wife did… or, like Elon Musk, flying your corporate jet to China to pick up enough masks to save hundreds of thousands of lives in Ohio. The pandemic, of course, represents just one important moment in time. But make no mistake: the needs of our global community will always be evolving, and there will always be people hurting and causes that need your help. There will always be a reason to give now.
One thing I learned from my own experiences during the pandemic is how to be more present. Forced to sit still, I found time to stop and smell the roses. I became more mindful of how much I really love my family, my wife, my dog, and my home. I am more aware of how deeply I care about humanity—and that, despite our tribal instincts, we all share the same DNA. And I see clearly how important it is to shift our mindsets and treat each other as one global family.
I’m not alone in these reflections. Over the past 18 months, I’ve seen many friends and clients gain a new sort of enlightenment, asking themselves, “What do I want to do for the rest of my life? How can I make a difference that matters?” I hope this book helps you answer those questions for yourself—and that it inspires you to make the act of giving a part of your life’s mission.
Gideon wrote the book in hopes of inspiring people of every age and every level of wealth to make giving a more integral part of their lives by exploring the why, what, and how of becoming a modern philanthropist. If you are interested in reading ‘Giving’ yourself—or in gifting it to others as an act of inspiration!—the Kindle version is being offered for free on Amazon through December 20. The paperback is priced at $9.99, and all net proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to charity.
We hope you will join Gideon and our entire LCM family in giving to others this holiday season, and in making philanthropy a part of your life all year long. If we can do anything to support that effort, including working with you to create your own charitable giving plan, we are more than happy to help.
Have a wonderful holiday season filled with giving!