Something to Talk About: GPS 2013

On Monday, June 24th, 2013, Allowance for Good launched its second annual Global Philanthropy Summit, which brings together a catalytic group of youth for intensive gatherings to advance personal understanding in and encourage collective action toward global education equity.

Zoe reflects on Day 2 of GPS, during which we heard from Crossroads Advisors, Crown Family Philanthropies, and Google.

Sometimes life decides to hit you over the head with a big foam bat. Today traveling down Wacker drive, I had a small epiphany on a big idea. We’ve been talking a lot about asking “what’s wrong?” and making sure that our services are actually helping and are actually needed. That communication is one of the necessary things for any program to work, whether in Uganda or Louisiana. The idea that there are things people don't need aid with, or that people can actually suffer from the misappropriation of aid is not something I’ve really thought of. I have to admit, and I know its sad, but its not something that's occurred to me before. I don’t like to think that good intentions can go wrong.

When I was in the 6th grade, I organized a coat drive. I knew that the shelter, Connections for the Homeless, needed to increase their amount of winter clothes they could distribute if they wished to provide for the homeless in Evanston. I gathered coats from November till January and gave them to the shelter. This worked because I had close personal connections with the shelter. It doesn’t work nearly as well when the place the donations are going to is a NGO is a developing, third world country. We don’t know what they are doing and can't infer what they need from halfway across the world like we can in our own communities. The biggest idea I’ve gathered, as to working in and with philanthropy, is Communication. Talk about ideas, talk to people, and talk with people. Create a conversation.

Communications is an important part of the world, since more people have a cellphone than access to a toilet. Companies like Google are helping to create ways to open lines of communication and connecting the world. By using their technology and going above and beyond, Google is giving in several key areas both locally and globally. As an internet company Google understands how important communication is in the modern age.

Personally, I really like what Google is doing. They are applying their skills and the skills of their “Googlers” to help the world. They have such an expansive network, and do so much to aid in the creation of communication that I feel they were the real focus today. We have so many opportunities to connect with the world these days, we need to use them. We need to apply our ability to be able to chat with people on another continent to our ideas, and combine it in a way to benefit humanity.