Live to Give

I firmly believe if you live your life with a giving spirit you will feel fulfilled, add value to your life, and increase your happiness factor.  Giving doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or a large sum of money.  It can be giving your time, resources, knowledge, or a gesture.  There are actions we can take daily, in small doses, and walk away with the wonderful feeling that someone’s life has been lifted up.  By doing so, we also lift ourselves up.  Giving doesn’t only have a positive impact on the recipient, it has one on the giver too.  It’s why, if you open yourself up to giving habitually, your life will be richer and more meaningful.



Daniel’s Grace Charitable Foundation

I spent a large part of last week helping one of my best friends prepare for her largest annual fundraiser, “Roast on the River”, for her charity foundation, Daniel’s Grace.  Her name is Jodi, and she is one of my inspirations.  Her capacity to love and give runs so deep.  It comes from such a genuine and heartfelt place within her.  Jodi’s first husband, Daniel, was diagnosed at age 28 with colon cancer.  He died at age 32.  Here’s an excerpt from the Daniel’s Grace website, In Jodi’s words:

I asked Daniel one night what his life’s regret was.  His reply was swift.  “I have spent my life living it for me and I didn’t realize that there were people around me who needed my help – even the elderly lady down the street who needed help taking in groceries.  Now that I realize it, I am not able,” he said.  I knew at that moment that while Daniel couldn’t, we could.

Daniel died on March 12, 2005, but his legacy lives on.  Almost ten years later, Daniel’s Grace was born to do what Daniel couldn’t.  Today we provide financial assistance for daily living needs to families battling cancer.  We pay rent, mortgage payments, car payments, utilities, insurance premiums, and COBRA premiums, just to name a few.  We also have a college scholarship program for students who have been directly affected by cancer.

Me and Jodi at Roast on the River 2017
A Record Turnout at Roast on the River 2017
Support Daniel’s Grace

To donate your time, money, or resources to the Daniel’s Grace Charitable Foundation click on this link Live to Give.

2017 was the fourth year for Roast on the River, at Steinhilber’s restaurant in Virginia Beach.  The crowd of supporters has blossomed from 100 to over 500 in this time.  The more it grows, the more cancer families Daniel’s Grace can assist.

For the first three years, my company was a sponsor, and we would attend the event, bid on auction items, and mingle with the crowd.  I lost my company in August, which made it impossible to give in that manner this year.  Instead, me and my family donated our time to show our support.  This year it meant more to us than ever before.

Having our hands in the Daniel’s Grace mission to support families affected by cancer; meeting the families and learning more about their stories, and enjoying the camaraderie among the team that executes such a cause-worthy event, offers more spiritual fulfillment than the ability to write a check.  We left with our hearts full and more connected to our values.  While giving financially is necessary to enable an organization to fulfill its mission, there are so many other vital ways to give.  Don’t let money hold you back from making a difference in this world.

The Holihan Clan at Roast on the River (Minus one.  She’s away at college)

Brides Across America

One of the initiatives I enjoyed as a business owner was the ability to give back to the community.  My big annual giving event was Brides Across America.   The organization collaborates with retailers to give free wedding gowns to military brides-to-be.  The events take place twice a year: the weeks of Veteran’s Day, and Fourth of July.  My company hosted this event for nine consecutive years, and gave away approximately 500 gowns to deserving military brides.


While I’m no longer in a position to continue with this great cause, I want to share it with you, so you can share it with others.  If you know of any military brides-to-be who are still in search of a wedding gown, send them this link: Free Wedding Gown.  They can see where the closest event to them is this week.  The gown options will be stunning, current, and in excellent condition.  I think the most expensive gown I gave away was just under $5,000.

Military Brides Searching for “The” Gown!

Why Giving Matters

I recently came across a speech by Arthur C. Brooks called “Why Giving Matters”.  I actually googled, why giving matters, and the speech Brooks gave at Brigham and Young University in 2009 came up first in my search.

Brooks, an economist, set out to test the belief of John D. Rockefeller, and so many people like him, that the power to make money was a gift from God and should be used for the good of mankind.  Rockefeller believed he made money because his purpose was to help others by giving it away, and by doing so he would be richer for it.

Brooks set out to gather the data that would contradict Rockefeller’s view.  In short, he couldn’t find anything to support an economists belief that you must have money first before you can give it away.  After conducting significant research, Brooks concluded that he was wrong, and Rockefeller was right.  The speech goes into great detail about the analysis of giving in America and the benefits we get from it.  While conducting his research, Brooks discovered some interesting facts about people who give and shared them in his speech.  Here’s a brief summary of his findings:

Acts of charity – giving money, serving others, even donating blood – create  remarkable return, lifting us spiritually and financially.  Givers are healthier, happier, and richer.  When people give it lowers their stress level.  If people witness you as a giver, they see you as a leader.  Charity leads to happiness, which leads to joy, which leads to productivity, which leads to success.  Happiness is the key to success.

It was the end of his speech that touched my heart the most.  At a point during his research he brought a chapter of a book home to share with his wife.  The chapter showed the analysis on the benefits of giving.  She loved what she was reading and urged that they do more.  Brooks agreed and said, “we should give more and write bigger checks”.  His wife exclaims, “No, bigger.  I think we should adopt a baby.”  His reply, “sweetheart, it’s only a book”.

He finishes his speech by stating he had no argument to his wife’s suggestion.  They had to do it, so they did, and it was the best thing they ever did!

You can read the full speech by Arthur C. Brooks here: Why Giving Matters

While I’m a huge advocate for adoption (I was adopted), I’m not suggesting you go out and adopt a baby.  I’m suggesting you find as many opportunities to give throughout your life.  Giving is more than a seasonal act and will enrich your life in so many beneficial ways.

Are you a founder, member, or supporter of an organization that’s bringing hope and change to people in need, and changing the world one day at a time?  Contact me.  I would love to share their mission and needs with my Maya Inspired followers.

With all the love in my heart,


To learn more about me, visit my website at Maya Holihan




2 thoughts on “Live to Give

  1. True, true, true! Giving is at the root of all happiness. We at Groovy partner with VersAbility Resources in Hampton, VA, one of our proudest collaborations. Our associates who kit our Groovy box are the foundation of our company, no doubt they are a huge part of Groovy’s success.

    They also announced a few weeks back – we are VersAbility Resources’ Business Parter of the Year 2017. (Be still my beating heart and tissues, PLEASE!) That feel I got when I read the news – now that’s groovy!

    So many reasons why I love them and pitch them any chance I get. I literally can not help myself from sharing all the amazing things they do for adults with disabilities and our community. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. 👊

  2. You as well are an inspiration to all of us Maya! You are blessed!

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