A Small Amount, A Big Impact

By: Blair
Blair is participating in Allowance for Good's Spring 2016 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy class in the Elmhurst location.

I learned this week in our financial literacy lesson that the extra money we spend on eating out, buying toys, and living through our daily lives adds up to a lot of money. Money that goes a long way in other people’s lives across the world. I realized this week that most people who live comfortably in our world with little to no financial problems don’t know how much of an impact even a dollar can do. People all over the world live in so much poverty that even a dollar could help them get enough food for their family. If we as a society realize how much extra money we spend on items we don’t even need and instead donate them to these hungry and starving kids, the impact would probably be as big as having almost every kid in poverty go to bed every night with a full belly. I encourage every person in the world to stop and think about if you really need this pointless item you are about to buy, and the impact it would have on others if you donated the money to charity instead of buying the item.  

"I am a catalyst for good
because...I will improve the
basic education around
the world" - Blair

ELP Elmhurst class brainstorming.

ELP Elmhurst class teacher 
Jeanne leads discussion.

Philanthropy: Shaping the Future

By: Mia
Mia is a participant in Allowance for Good's Fall 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy class in the Chicago location. She also participated in AfG's 2015 Global Philanthropy Summit this past July that focused on empowering social innovation.

Philanthropy has two roots, philos and anthropos.  In the most literal sense, philanthropy means "love for humanity" but it is so much more.  When you give your effort to someone or something greater than yourself it is incredibly humbling and inspires not only you but those around you.  The act of giving is something that everyone can do, philanthropy is a universal concept.

Mia presenting at AfG's Global Philanthropy Summit.
In the past, I did medical missions and backpack missions in my mother's hometown of Bebe Matua in the Philippines.  This was very transformative in my life because it showed me that giving your time and effort into the world you live in allows you to make a human connection with others and yourself just by helping a cause you believe in. 

Growing up in Chicago and going to school and choir in Humboldt Park gave me a different perspective on the CPS school system than my peers at Walter Payton College Prep.  I remember many of my very intelligent and driven peers from elementary getting denied from high schools due to lack of preparatory resources.  This year, I started a tutoring program at Jenner Academy for the Arts to help the students perform to the best of their ability.  Putting together the program not only enriched my organization skills but also helped me develop opinions on teaching methods that I had not thought of before. Seeing the students at Jenner reminded me of my own childhood, and I wanted to help give those students the opportunities that many of my old friends did not have. 

Mia at AfG's GPS week.
Looking into the future and the present, I can easily see my life being one that has philanthropy at the center.  Philanthropy is looking for the better of the community, rather than the better of the individual. It is giving your resources of aid to others. Being a philanthropist and a catalyst for good means to dedicate yourself to improving the human condition. Helping others also helps ourselves through enriching ourselves in current problems and developing our views on the world, either through the aiding of the community, or the experience of contributing to the greater good. I want to be a catalyst for good because promoting universal welfare is our duty as global ambassadors and citizens.  To participate in the greater good is to improve the quality of life for both our generation and the next.

Philanthropy can't fix the past, but it can shape the future.

Teen Discovers Financial Literacy and Personal Philanthropy

By: Ella
Ella is a participant in Allowance for Good's Winter 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class.

When I signed up for the ELP Explorers class, one of the words that jumped out to me in the course description was “financial literacy”. I had heard it before: it’s a “buzzword” often used in news articles or on talk shows, but not everyone knows what it means (I didn’t). But people often claim that it is severely lacking from our education system, and that teaching it may be the secret to preventing a good amount of our financial troubles. It turns out that financial literacy can mean a myriad of different things to different people, but fundamentally, it is the ability to understand financial matters, and how money works in general. However, many people don’t possess this understanding, as a 2008 survey shows that only 34% of parents have taught their child how to balance a checkbook.

In the most recent ELP class, we began to learn financial literacy by tracking our weekly spending and comparing it to our weekly earning. Many of us were surprised, and realized how little we think about spending money as teenagers. Financial literacy ties into personal philanthropy because it teaches us how to properly allocate and transfer funds. Also, keeping in mind my own spending highlights how severe needs are in the areas where we are trying to direct our aid to, and provides a sense of urgency to our personal philanthropy. For example, I will usually spend 7 or 8 dollars on food when I go out with my friends without a second thought. However, 2.7 billion people worldwide are struggling to survive on less than $2 a day, or a fourth of that amount. We also learned about AFG’s global affiliates, many of which combat similar situations: There’s the Liger Learning Center, based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a progressive school that provides opportunities for bright children living in poverty. There’s the Adonai Child Development Centre in Uganda for kids living among AIDS, war, and poverty. Finally, there’s Spark Ventures, which is Chicago-based and had a representative come in and educate us about their partnerships, such as Hope Community School. This is located in Zambia and provides the impoverished children of Twapia with an education. In future ELP classes, I’d be interested to learn more about what we can do to get involved with our global affiliates and how we can fundraise for them.


Ella writes, "I am a Catalyst for Good because no matter who you are or where you come from, you can make a difference."

Inspiration and Fresh Perspective at Google Chicago

By: Riley
Riley participated in Allowance for Good's summer 2014 Global Philanthropy Summit program. 

I was lucky enough to take part in the Global Philanthropy Summit last week.  It was a riveting and insightful experience, and I now feel like a more engaged citizen!

Thursday was definitely the most exciting day of our week, with several important activities in downtown Chicago.  After taking the train in from Evanston, we trekked downtown and settled in our destination.  Soon after we arrived, so did our presenters: representatives from A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy group, and one of its funded programs.  They told us all about the great projects they were involved in currently, and where they hope their programs will be in the future.  The impact that these programs had made on the community of Chicago and its young people was obvious.  It was inspiring for us to be presented with some of the greatest philanthropic work going on in Chicago!

After the presentation, we walked to Google's Chicago headquarters, probably the highlight of our week at the GPS.  This was definitely my personal favorite place we visited in our two days downtown.  Besides taking a tour of Google's progressively-designed workplace and its fascinating employees, we participated in a Google+ Hangout with an AFG affiliate at Liger Learning Centre.  We also learned about all of Google's philanthropic work, which was simply amazing.  Google already has a reputation as a very socially responsible business, and its philanthropy was no exception to this principle.  The company has helped get thousands of people out of slavery, donated technology, and otherwise helped people in ways big and small.

I cannot describe how personally inspiring the visit to Google was for me.  The trip taught me that philanthropy can truly be on any scale and that even helping a few people is great philanthropic work.  Google's work with spreading technology and knowledge about it showed great promise for the future of the world and technological progress in it.  Google has encouraged me to be more aware of the world around me and to use my skills to help the people that I can.

I'd like to thank everyone who worked to make the GPS happen and my classmates for making the entire week a great experience for us all!

Expanding Definitions of Philanthropy

By: Lily
Lily participated in Allowance for Good's spring 2014 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers program. 

In our Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy class, we have learned about Corporate Philanthropy, Venture Philanthropy, and Personal Philanthropy. I learned that Venture Philanthropy has a higher risk propensity than Corporate Philanthropy, and that it can be more affective in terms of building long-term relationships and skills for future philanthropic acts. I personally believe that Venture Philanthropy is the most affective type of Philanthropy, because I think that the best efforts for change are made by a group with different view points, and a wide variety of skills and opinions put forth when making a change in the world.

I discovered Venture Philanthropy during this class, and I am glad that I did, as I didn't think that such a type of philanthropy existed, and I was glad to discover that it does. I have heard of Personal and Corporate Philanthropy before-my grandfather's business gives money every year with part of their profits, and has a matching donations program. My family also gives our own money to charity through our foundation, the Weatherlow Foundation. Next year I will have a section of our grants to control, and I am happy to have responsibility for the change our family makes in the world. I am glad to have participated in this class, I have learned much about the different ways I can make a difference in the world, and my views on philanthropy have been impacted greatly by the amazing lessons I have learned in this class.
Lily (center) works with her ELP classmates to develop their own venture philanthropy fund.