By Ali Gant, gift planning officer, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Happiness comes in many forms and can be a key driver for successful people, as two hundred professional advisors learned recently at the 11th Annual Balser Symposium. The symposium’s keynote speaker was Dr. Raj Raghunathan, author of If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? The audience learned about traits that drive career success and that lead – or impede – people from being happier.
The award-winning Professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin has conducted years of research to reveal that, once basic needs are met, wealth is not a driver of happiness. In fact, the key to happiness is generosity. Giving of one’s time and resources to others is the number one driver in long-term success. Dr. Raghunathan’s studies show that people who are giving back, whether they have little or much to give, tend to be happier.
This year’s Balser Symposium also featured a presentation by the Balser Professional Advisors Council (BPAC) Giving Circle. These advisors decided to learn more about the needs in our local community, ultimately focusing on the equity gap in Atlanta. The giving circle, advisors who often work with clients to help guide their philanthropic giving, set upon their own journey to give back. They worked through a year-long grantmaking process, ultimately awarding a $25,000 grant to Our House, an agency offering services and housing to families with young children experiencing homelessness.
The Balser Symposium is a partnership between the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Atlanta Jewish Foundation and the United Way of Greater Atlanta. The Symposium draws national speakers to educate legal and financial advisors about the philanthropic landscape. More information on Dr. Raghunathan’s HappySmarts Project can be found here.