Barbara Bonner: Reimagining Courage and Generosity


In this episode of the Wisdom podcast, we hear from Barbara Bonner, author of Inspiring Generosity and Inspiring Courage, both published by Wisdom. Barbara has dedicated her career to nonprofit management, fundraising and philanthropy. You’ll hear the ways her professional life has been deeply informed by experiences as a Buddhist practitioner, and likewise, how exposure to philanthropy has given way to new insights on the virtues of generosity. Barbara describes how a serendipitous trip to India paved the way for a discovery of Theravada Buddhism later in life, when she unexpectedly found herself studying with such great teachers as Jack Kornfield, Robert Thurman, and Edward Espe Brown. Most profoundly, Barbara shares insights on the value of reimagining generosity as something beyond material exchange, and instead, as a personally transformational experience through an overcoming of the self. Additionally, you’ll hear Barbara and Daniel discuss courage as the engine that fuels all other virtues, as well as the inextricable link between courage and fear and courage and humility. Barbara also shares illuminating passages from both her books.

About the Interviewee

Barbara Bonner began her professional life as an art historian before ultimately dedicating her career to nonprofit management, fundraising and philanthropy. In New York she held leadership positions in three of the city’s distinguished museums. She then served as Vice President of Bennington College and of the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Since 2009 she has had her own consulting company that helps nonprofit organizations transform their board leadership and philanthropic support. In addition, Barbara has served on ten nonprofit boards, most recently as Board Chair of The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Several years ago she started a major fund for helping women with cancer in her region. After 30 years in New York City, Barbara now lives in a converted barn in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts.

Her first book, Inspiring Generosity, was published in 2014, and her second, Inspiring Courage, in 2017. Barbara has spoken widely on the subjects of generosity and leadership and is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post.

You can find out more about Barbara and her books by visiting these additional websites:

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