Remembering to Look Up -- Lessons from GPS

By: Ross
Ross participated in Allowance for Good's 2015 Global Philanthropy Summit in June, which focused on Global Engagement.

My time at the Allowance for Good Global Philanthropy Summit (GPS) was really eye-opening. One of my goals this summer was expanding my horizons in regards to philanthropy and service. Not only did GPS introduce me to incredibly inspiring organizations and individuals, it also gave me new and interesting tools and perspectives on philanthropy. I think much of the general population views philanthropy as monetary contribution. In reality, it’s so much more. As we learned on day one of GPS, philanthropy is giving your time, talent, treasure, and/or ties.

For example, Harvey Newcomb from Rotary International and Claire Dillon of Art Works Projects taught us about the large role marketing plays in a strong philanthropic campaign. The founder of World Bicycle Relief showed us how giving children bicycles not only allows access to education, but the responsibility of managing of contracts and who is given bikes builds a structured community that is strong and savvy. Lorraine Dillon of Right to be Free showed us how the efforts of one man have changed so many lives.

While we learned so many definitions and facts about philanthropy and ways to give, we learned a lot more by meeting people, and having conversations. I personally prefer a phone call to text or email, and I much prefer a face-to-face conversation to a phone call! At GPS, we not only listened to speakers, but we asked questions. We entered a dialogue about philanthropy. The speakers Allowance for Good chose not only did interesting things, but told interesting stories. They shared with us their experiences, and encouraged us to get out there and make experiences of our own. Experiences that will someday make really interesting stories.

I think my largest takeaway from GPS was this: Philanthropy comes in all shapes and sizes, and the biggest impact we can make is opening our eyes. Looking up from screens and schedules, taking a break from the daily grind to look out that window we sit by every day and noticing something new. Whether it be a birds nest, a squirrel on your neighbor’s roof, or even the way the sunlight shines. The more we look up, the more we SEE. We miss so much by not taking time to experience. Allowance for Good made me realize the importance of looking up. When I look up, I can appreciate my world. I can see what needs fixing and I can do something about it. The Global Philanthropy Summit is surely a week well spent, and taught me lessons that are sure to keep paying off. I encourage everyone who hasn’t yet taken part in a GPS (no matter how involved with Allowance for Good you already are) to spend a week engaging, learning, and experiencing life with your eyes open. Hopefully it will be as rewarding for you as it was for me.

Ross presenting his ideas at the workshop with Chapín Coffee and Right to be Free.