Man Sitting on a Rock with Two dogs by His Side The art of philanthropy - Sam Simone's charitable life.

The art of philanthropy is a trade we are not born with, but one that we often learn through trials and tribulations. Often we find ourselves or a loved one struggling in one way or another and our natural instinct is to help by offering a helping hand or doing more if we can. Philanthropy is a skill set far beyond what many are capable of, but achievable by all as long as you learn the art of it to fully maximize your contributions. It starts as simply as putting a dollar into a red kettle at the holidays or participating in a 5K, but can easily develop into starting your own charity or fundraising event. Yes, a lot of time and energy goes into something like this, but when you are contributing to a great cause it certainly doesn't feel like work, but your passion.

This story touches my heart. As someone who cherishes the 90's, of course a staple Pop Culture icon is the show The Simpsons.

Person Holding a Please Give Jar The art of philanthropy - Sam Simone's charitable life.

Often controversial and making weekly headlines, this show grew in popularity at a rapid pace and none of us can deny that "doh!" quickly became part of the American vernacular. The family that never seemed to age and always found resolution by the end of each episode found a way of getting into, and staying in, our hearts. So, hearing the news about the Simpsons' co-creator, Sam Simon, being diagnosed terminally ill with colon cancer truly was a shock and certainly saddening. The most rewarding part about Sam is surely his philanthropic nature. Since departing the show in 1993, he dove deep into the art of philanthropy and started numerous charities and foundations benefiting humans and animals alike. His passion to give back began long before his illness, but will only continue to grow as he plans to give all of his riches to his organizations. Our unfortunate loss in this world will not go unnoticed and absolutely make a positive difference in the world of many more than I'm sure he ever imagined.

How do you plan to make a difference in the world around you? Is it by volunteering your time to a local charity? Do you plan to participate in your community's food bank? Having a hard time deciding? Comb through the web or talk to friends and family to find the opportunity that speaks to you. Of course, if you find something that is tailored to your interests you will easily be able to invest your efforts. In other words, don't choose an animal shelter if you're not an animal lover or work in a food kitchen if you can't stand to cook at home. It will surely feel like work if you approach it that way. Lastly, if your time is spread thinly as it is with your current obligations there are many charities that you can donate to online as well.

Still not sure what you're interests are? Visit  Volunteer Match today to help you narrow down your area of focus and find something local! Good luck! Make it count!