Today, one woman shares why she decided to secretly donate money through her church to help her brother’s family—a decision that she has come to regret.
My older brother and I have never been particularly close.
We got along well enough as children, but our relationship didn’t grow into the strong, tight-knit kind I’ve seen other siblings share. Let’s just say we’re very different people: He’s an introvert, while I’m a social butterfly. And the truth is that if we weren’t family, we probably wouldn’t run in the same circles.
But when I saw my brother start to struggle financially, I couldn’t help but feel the natural tug to step in. He’s family, after all, and I had enough room in my budget to spare a little.
So, really, it was a no-brainer when I made the decision to start giving him money—but it had to be secret, so he’d never realize it was me writing the checks.
A Pattern of Secret Giving Begins
My husband Mike* and I are no strangers to charitable giving. I’m a corporate executive and he’s thriving as a business consultant, so we’re fortunate to be in a financial position that allows us to give to various philanthropies and charities.
But no matter who the recipient of our charitable giving is, we’ve always followed a single guiding mantra: We’re not looking to be heroes. My husband and I simply know that we’ve been blessed and want to share it with others—and giving anonymously allows us to do just that. What’s the point of seeking recognition?
We also firmly believe that charity should start at home. So shame on me if I can write a check to a charity, but won’t do anything to help a struggling family member.
My brother, Peter*, and his wife Samantha* had always struggled financially. In fact, my parents had been throwing money Peter’s way for years—for down payments on homes, to pay various bills and to buy school supplies for their kids.
But when I noticed him and Samantha facing particularly difficult money decisions, like whether or not to buy new clothes for their three children, I knew it was time for me to act.