Opening Eyes to New Ways of Giving

By: Clara
Clara is participating in Allowance for Good's autumn 2013 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program.

This past week at ELP, we had a really inspiring talk about how to give back and make a difference.  I learned a lot about foundations and how they connect those who want to help others with those who need help. We learned about family foundations, as well as about corporate foundations.  These organizations, as well as the individuals involved in them, make a huge difference in the lives of those in need.

During our session, we talked a lot about the reasons for giving back. I feel that giving back is our way of showing that we are thankful for the resources we have, such as health and education. In the past, I have tried to give back as much as possible through volunteering to help people and organizations in need.  However, our discussion opened my eyes to all the ways people can help others.

One way is you can help to start or get involved in a family foundation. I really like this idea and thought it was interesting because it is something you can do with your family. Family foundations tend to focus on issues that mean a lot to them. I think that knowing and acting upon your personal values is very important and family foundations are a key point in doing this.

This week at EPL, we had a very inspiring guest speaker who helped educate us about family foundations. We were very fortunate to have Sharmila Rao Thakkar, who told us about both the family foundation she works and also about how family foundations work in general. Sharmila Rao Thakkar has been working in non-profit for 17 years and she is currently the eyes and ears of the foundation staff at the Siragusa Family Foundation. She really opened up my mind to the possibilities and advantages of working with family foundations. It was amazing to hear (especially from someone who has worked with non-profits for so long) that I can actually make a difference in a community or in the life of an individual, despite the fact that I am only one person. Sharmila is personally opening up doors that lead to opportunities for giving back in our community.

In the future, I am looking forward to learning more about all the different and unique ways I can give back both big and small.  I have learned the difference between temporarily fixing a problem and finding a permanent solution. I am looking forward to being exposed to all the different kinds of solutions that I can personally help to construct and develop in the future!