December 1, 2018

Philanthropy Leaders Emphasize Christian Principles Found in the Industry

Mylon Medley, North American Division News

“All of this started with my Christian roots,” said Alphonce J. Brown Jr., who was asked to speak at the North American Division (NAD) headquarters’ worship service on November 14, 2018, in honor of National Philanthropy Awareness Day. Brown, a grandson of a Southern Baptist pastor, is the president and founder of Docere Consulting, Inc., and serves as a consultant to the Adventist Church’s Philanthropic Services for Institutions (PSI).

PSI organized the worship service and an afternoon reception for NAD employees to help “recognize the great contributions of philanthropy — and those people active in the philanthropic community — to the enrichment of our world.”

Lilya Wagner, director of Philanthropic Services for Institutions (PSI), plays her flute for the worship service on National Philanthropy Awareness Day, November 14, 2018, at the North American Division headquarters. [Photo: Mylon Medley, North American Division News]

Brown has worked for several domestic and international non-profit organizations of various sizes; he has also served as an assistant dean for one of the most prestigious business schools in the United States. There’s nothing like giving back, he said.

“One of the greatest joys for me has been to come back to my Christian roots through working with PSI over the last five years,” said Brown. “Adventists have [a] very low profile in terms of the reach that you have, and the way you give back the way that you do. I’ve been immersed and very, very pleased to have worked with you, and doing the kinds of things that do make a difference.”

PSI serves as a one-stop shop for the philanthropic campaigns of Adventist churches, schools, hospitals, youth camps, and community services. PSI offers a wide range of services, including fundraising, training, event planning, resource sharing, networking, and data sharing.

“Philanthropy is a broad term under which different things like fundraising fit. Fundraising is the act of helping people be generous,” said Lilya Wagner, director of PSI, at the afternoon reception. “We have secular research that proves what the Bible says: that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The National Institutes of Health says that people who are generous live longer, they're healthier and happier. That's really what our role is.”

One does not have to be a fundraiser to be a philanthropist, she said. The root of philanthropy is using what you can to give back.

“You are all part of philanthropy whether you know it or not. We always see volunteers in our churches and our community. We’re all part of something special,” said Lorena Hernandez, senior administrative assistant of PSI. “It’s not only [about] giving money, it’s [also about] giving of your time, and giving of your items. So, wherever you are, celebrate the people who volunteer with you.”