By Jasmine Agnes T. Cruz

The Giving Way to Happiness
By Jenny Santi
Published by Penguin Random House

DONATING to charity can make people happy. This is the thesis of the book The Giving Way to Happiness by New York-based Filipina Jenny Santi, a philanthropy advisor to some of the world’s richest people.

This idea is supported in the book through personal stories of philanthropists that Ms. Santi has met, such as actors Djimon Hounsou and Goldie Hawn, author Isabel Allende, models Christy Turlington-Burns and Petra Nemcova, and entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, among others. Deepak Chopra wrote the book’s foreword.

Aside from the stories, the book also includes scientific research on the power of giving, and advice on whether donors should give as a family or anonymously and how to address donor fatigue.

Author Photo - Jenny Santi

Ms. Santi holds an MBA from European business school INSEAD (Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires), went to Wharton business school as an exchange student, graduated summa cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University, attended New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising, and is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy. She is a frequent commentator on the topic of philanthropy and has been quoted in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, on Channel NewsAsia, and on BBC World News.

As a philanthropy advisor, she gives advice to clients regarding where to donate depending on their interests, she also plans events to let charities and philanthropists meet, and more.

She got into this business when she met a philanthropy advisor, who hired her to be part of his team. Soon after, he left, giving her the opportunity to be the head of philanthropy services for Southeast Asia for a wealth manager.

She held that job for five years, and through it met celebrities and other wealthy individuals who are active in giving back. She also heard many personal stories of why philanthropists decided to donate and how that act changed their lives. “I was convinced that these stories need to be told,” she said.

Initially though, her subjects were reluctant to have their stories made public because they didn’t want to be seen as selfish for experiencing personal happiness from giving back, but when some prominent people decided to share their stories with Ms. Santi, more followed suit. Her book is filled with stories about how giving has helped these givers become closer to their loved ones, experience fulfillment they didn’t find before, enable them to overcome a painful experience, and now have a sense of purpose.

The Giving Way to Happiness is available for P755 in National Book Store and Powerbooks. It is also available as an eBook from