Robyn Henry

Giving is a selfless act, and it is actually quite simple to just GIVE, because the act of giving can be spontaneous, easy, and uncomplicated.

Location: Toronto, Canada

Profession: Founder & Instructor, Work It Out Fitness Studios

Twitter: @workitrobyn

What was the first gift you ever gave?:

When I was 9 years old, I started actively participating in the annual Terry Fox Run at my school where we were encouraged to raise money for the organization by collecting pledges from family and friends. Our pledges reflected how many laps we would run on Race Day, and however many laps we ran, reflected the total amount of money we raised as a school for the Terry Fox Fund. I absolutely loved running throughout my school years, so this incentive was an easy one for me, and it opened my eyes to how awesome it can be to do something so fun for such a great cause!

Because I started early in my life giving to and participating in charitable causes, it has led me in my later years to make it a personal habit to make a donation to a different charitable organization each month. At a very young age, I had the luxury of witnessing the benefits that these small monetary donations can have on others, and so I continue to enjoy seeing the impact that paying-it-forward can have on everyone around me.

What is your charity of choice?:

Shaping Her Esteem (SHE) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to the empowerment of young girls in living a healthy and active lifestyle during those developing years from 8-16. SHE makes a difference by engaging youth in health and fitness – two areas in which I am deeply passionate.

Who inspires you to give?:

Those who give to me! I feel so fortunate to receive gifts from friends, family, random strangers and other acquaintances in my life. Whether the gifts are of a material nature, or in a simple hug or letter – these acts of kindness make me feel great, and I in turn, want to do the same for others, so that they can feel great too.

What motivates you to give?:

The reaction from those to whom I give, and the response that giving has on people in general. Gifts come in so many different ways, and there is nothing better than helping someone or making something that much better in someone’s life than by giving them a gift that will brighten their day!

How do you give of your time?:

I make sure to think of my family and friends each week, and what they are currently experiencing in their lives. I make sure to pay attention to what types of gifts make them all feel good. And I do my best to give to everyone as often as I can. Even if it’s through a simple ‘have a great day today’ message, whenever I think it’s needed. I also spend time volunteering for SHE and running its annual fundraiser, so that we can give back to the program and continue to help provide for the young girls involved in the organization. Our 4th annual SHE event will take place in early 2016!

What advice do you have for others to consider giving?:

My advice to other people would be to understand that giving doesn’t have to be a stressful task to take on and that it doesn’t always have to be a material thing. Giving is a selfless act, and it is actually quite simple to just GIVE, because the act of giving can be spontaneous, easy, and uncomplicated. A listening ear, a quick email or text, or a small donation made to children collecting money for their school  fundraiser – these are all simple things that can just come to you without feeling the pressure of a checklist. If you can shift your focus to thinking of others, and pay attention to the types of giving that would make them feel good and empowered, you’ll find that there are plenty of opportunities to give to those around you, and you’ll actually be surprised by the simple things that can make someone’s day.

Lauren Shoolman


Lauren is a development professional with five years of experience in Canada and the United States in individual and institutional giving, and special events. She is an Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA) Fellow, a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in New York, and has been invited to deliver guest lectures at St. Lawrence University, NY, on fundraising. Lauren holds a BA Specialized Honors in Marketing and a Certificate in Management from York University, Canada.

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Why We Give tells stories of ordinary philanthropists, making a difference, dollar by dollar and hour by hour.  

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