The Neuroscience of Giving

During Turning Point School’s milestone anniversary, we enjoy the chance to celebrate a half-century of outstanding education while looking ahead to the school’s future. The throughline that connects it all is our commitment to providing students with the foundational skills, tools, and mindsets they need to become successful, fulfilled, and engaged citizens of the world.

Every student at Turning Point has a “positive equation for achievement” that helps them pursue challenging goals, perform at their best, navigate through challenges resiliently, and share their authentic selves and talents. This “positive equation” is a profound marker of future success of all kinds and creates the traits we want to see in our children as fully-formed, prosperous adults.

Some of the elements that make up our “positive equation” include gratitude, purpose, kindness, and leadership. We experience each of these when we engage in giving. Giving also makes us happy and has profound benefits for our health and well-being in no small part because giving of ourselves builds community. We ask our families to participate in the life of our school, to contribute their time, talent, and resources to make our school stronger and more vibrant.

Turning Point’s Annual Fund provides an opportunity to give meaningfully of our resources to our beloved school. Studies show that when people give money to someone else, their happiness is elevated more than when they spend it on themselves (despite their predictions to the contrary). When we participate in philanthropy, it activates regions in the brain associated with pleasure, connection, and trust, and which release endorphins, which make us feel a “helper’s high.”

Giving is shown to improve physical health and longevity. Philanthropic exchanges create trust and cooperation that strengthen our connection to others—and research shows that positive social relationships promote physical and mental health. When we are kind and giving, we see others as kind and giving as well. Giving also inspires gratitude, which in turn makes us more likely to take better care of ourselves, to be more optimistic, and to feel better about our lives.

Most intriguingly, giving is contagious. When we give, it has a powerful ripple effect among those in our community. A research study showed when one person behaves generously, others are inspired to behave generously down the line. In this network of altruism, each person could influence dozens or even hundreds of people, including those they do not personally know.

As many of you know, Turning Point’s Annual Fund comprises 10% of our overall budget. It is a critical element upon which we rely to balance our budget each year and allows me as Head of School to say “yes” to campus and program enhancements. Historically, 100% of our Board of Trustees and our faculty and staff commit to participating in our Annual Fund. Think about that for a minute. Your teachers, who care for your child every day, commit to investing in the school’s future. I could not be more proud and grateful to work alongside colleagues who recognize the power of giving.

When we decide to make a change involving the welfare of others, we receive these positive effects on our happiness and well-being. I invite you to join me in being part of a solution. We have the opportunity to help our school and our community. By giving to others—no matter how much—we connect ourselves to something more significant.

Thank you in advance for modeling gratitude, purpose, kindness, and leadership for your children, who see your dedication to a cause bigger than yourself and the value you place on the relationships and connections that inspire us and give our lives meaning and purpose.


Laura Konigsberg
Head of School

A positive equation for achievement.

Be part of the positive equation.

Let's Connect