‘Tis The Season! How I Give Back For The Holidays

American interns learning about French financial institutions and visiting the Paris bourse, or stock exchange (Photo: IES)

One of the most powerful experiences of my undergraduate years was living with a French family (a Countess, no less!) and studying in a university overseas. I perfected my language skills, got to see life from a different perspective, and segued into a post-grad career as a Foreign Service Officer working at Embassies abroad. (Not to mention filling in as an extra for an American movie being filmed in Paris!).

It was an experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

Now, to give back, I support scholarships for American students so they can afford to have the same experience I did. I routinely give to the Institute for the International Education of Students, based in Chicago, (IES Abroad for short). They sponsor academic and cultural education opportunities to students around the world, from the U.S. to France, Chile, China and South Africa, among others.

The student I sponsored this year was able to do a “stage” – or internship – in Paris. (That’s her group in the photo at the French stock exchange as part of their business internship). Without the support of alums like me, she couldn’t have managed to cover her expenses and wouldn’t have been able to participate.

It’s easy to support the causes you believe in, either through direct gifts to the charity, gifts to a Donor Advised Fund (which is what I usually do), or tax-advantaged gifts from your IRA if you are already 70½ years of age.

‘Tis the season, so if there’s a group you want to support, let us know so we can help you make your gift go farther and do even more good!

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