Jeffersonian Dinner: Compassion is Served


Forget the cocktail chit-chat, bring on a feast of social innovation

As both Director of the Largest non-profit in the World, United Way Worldwide and the web-site  committed to free knowledge, Wikipedia, I have attended my share of events to support worthy causes. From auctions to campaign kick-offs to thank you receptions, fundraising is frequently by necessity on the menu for today’s non-profit organizations.

Compassion is served

I was intrigued  to attend  a very different event sponsored by hosted at a private home in Pacific Heights, San Francisco.   Our invitation included only one request: Bring a story about a time in  life when we were touched by someone’s compassion while at school.  We would be dining with 10 guests  who we didn’t know,  representing business, philanthropy and education for a conversation that mattered.


Jeffersonian Dinner Parties – Dining with a Difference

Inspired by Thomas Jefferson, who detested idle chit-chat and preferred inviting  guests to his table from different walks of life to discuss important matters of the day,  the  Jeffersonian Dinner party begins with an invitation to 10 – 12 people you would like to have at your table.  A theme or topic is selected and  a thought-provoking question is sent to your guests in advance.   The only real rule of the evening:  rather than just talking to the one person beside you at dinner,  you talk to all of your fellow guests.

In my evening at the Jeffersonian Dinner Party,  sharing our  personal stories of compassion both connected and inspired us.  The contrast of the tragedy of the mass shooting in Orlando earlier in the week, standing in stark comparison.    By dessert we imagined more.   How might we make sure that  Kindness  is not an Elective and Care and Compassion,  not Violence is the News Headline.

Blog References: Each year 30% of students are the target of bullying and cyberbullying. No Bully is an evidence based program that leverages student empathy to bring this crisis to an end.

Rosemary Rein is a Writer and Keynote Speaker on Leadership, Innovation and Community Engagement.  She resides in San Francisco Bay, California




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