Madison participated in Allowance for Good's 2014 Global Philanthropy Summit program.
As students, we are often told to remain in our place of academia. Students are supposed to learn, to study, to absorb and interpret the knowledge of our elders and our teachers and our society without much thought to the impact each of these characters in our lives has on the world. And, this has worked for hundreds of years. Society progressed, mostly as a whole, to as it appears to us today. In some ways, this system is functional. But, quite cliche, we live in a collective of billions of people, more connected than we ever were before in history. Social media allows us to interact with people we may not have ever known existed, and mass media allows us to get a narrative of what happens in our world; it is for better or for worse the actual accuracy and detail of these accounts. And most importantly, I believe, we are posed with the ability to choose our impact with which we will leave the world. Maybe this is morbid and depressing, but we, as a society and a species, are allowed the privilege to make the changes we wish to see in our world. And as we expose the genius of our young leaders such as Malala Yousafzai, Ann Makosinski, and even the early Steve Jobs, a shift in power and insight begins to take place. No longer is the political, scientific, or social spectrum simply a battleground of greying, ivy league men, but a fairground of unpassable opportunity.
Working with a non-profit organization like Allowance for Good is exactly that kind of opportunity. For me, as well as many of my mates from this year’s Global Philanthropy Summit, each day felt only like a minute. We were immersed in the intricacies of social policy, of business and enterprise, of innovation, but most importantly (and sometimes I feel like most revelled by my peers) the prospect of dreaming. Only a minority of this week was spent on our dreams, but each minute of preparation was exciting and helpful. They tell us in school to remain realistic, to maintain short term goals that we can accomplish and satisfy. While this is helpful, it is not always fun. Understandably, when they told us to create a project for one of our Allowance for Good Affiliates, we were ecstatic.
It was with this idea that our dreams began. Ideas for how to support worthy causes were thrown each and every way possible until we could not think of any more that would be governed by the laws of physics. Finally, we made a decision. Our ideas were scattered with a bookmark sale, to a simple donation request (With a bookmark as reward), and an art supply drive for students in Nicaragua. We were creative and quick in our thinking, and even though it was fairly improvised and small scaled, for my peers and I this opened doors to our own philanthropic potential. It was no longer simply about these bookmarks now, or these school supplies, but about our own ability to decide where the funds were delivered and our independence in our efforts. While we collaborated, it was by our own will and talents that we were able to raise over two hundred dollars (over the course of only a few hours) and a hefty art supply. We are the change who will sit in the desks previously occupied by stuffy, bureaucratic, businessmen, creating progressive policies that utilize our world’s resources, create peaceful international policy, guarantee the education of every child, and learn what the world wants before we try to give it to them. For the time being we are students, making our way into the world, but we will all be catalysts for change in our own ways, obstructed by no barriers that we cannot surpass.