Making a Difference through Golf

By: Matthew
Matthew is a participant in Allowance for Good's 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy class in the Elmhurst location

AfG's Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy Elmurst students.
For the past seven years I have been involved with an organization called Revelation Golf. This group was founded by two women, one of whom is a trained physical therapist and the other of whom is a former professional golfer and golf coach. They started this group to help people with physical disabilities learn the game of golf. This includes children with physical limitations (like myself) as well as veterans who have been injured. In most cases the people with whom they work are not able to play sports the way that able-bodied people do but golf is something that many people can figure out how to do. Because of the background of the two women (therapy and golf) they can usually figure out a way to teach their participants how to work around their limitations and hit the golf ball pretty well.

The two women who run the organization are an inspiration to me. They both could've made a lot more money doing what they were trained to do (therapy and golf coaching) but have chosen to sacrifice their own self-interest in order to help others. The obvious joy on their faces when their participants do well on the golf course is great to see. They both took a big risk in their lives by deciding to do what they were passionate about but I think they're glad that they made the choice that they did.

In the past, I've helped this organization by volunteering at their annual golf outings, being featured in their promotional literature and videos, and giving speeches at various events.  Also, my mom is on the board of directors and both my mom and dad have been involved in helping to organize the annual golf outing fundraiser. Over the years it's been interesting to see how the organization has changed and it's been wonderful to see how many hundreds of people have been helped.

After all these years, it really feels like the women who run this organization have become part of our family and I think they would say that we're part of their family as well. Going forward I hope to be able to stay involved with them in whatever capacity they need me. Teaching disabled people to play golf may seem like a small, somewhat unimportant thing, but I can attest to the fact that it makes a big difference by allowing people to be able to do something outside with their friends and family and by helping people become more active in their community. It’s also a lot of fun! They truly are an inspiration and I hope to stay involved so that we can continue helping people with disabilities to play the great game of golf and more importantly to learn that that their physical limitations should not prevent them from doing something they want to do.

Family Foundations: Learning into Practice

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

As someone who is relatively familiar with philanthropy and who thinks that they know almost everything, I am delightfully surprised by how much the ELP Explorers class has taught me over the last few weeks. However, this week’s course in particular connected with me on a different level. Our class had the opportunity to speak with high-ranking members of various foundations and gain insight as to how philanthropy works outside of our office space.

The majority of our time was spent learning about family foundations. A family foundation is one whose funds are derived from the members of a family. We learned about how family foundations operate, how they determine their grantees, and what they do to ensure success. We also learned that simply donating money as a family is not the same as forming a family foundation. While donating money may be a charitable and generous thing that families do around a dinner table, family foundations make certain that those same donations provide long term aid for worthy organizations.

If given the opportunity to create my own family foundation, I would support three things: providing children with the proper resources for formal education, working to maintain the environment, and researching cures for disabilities and mental illness. In regards to education, I strongly believe that all children deserve an opportunity to learn and grow. Even though more children throughout the world are receiving a formal education, the numbers are still not where they could be. I believe that through proper emphasis and funding, every child in the world could someday say that they have been to school.

Next, I feel that maintaining the environment and creating a more eco-friendly society is crucial. With global warming intensifying by the day, it is time for us to change how we live. Specifically, I would fund efforts to increase the use of clean, reusable energy and decrease the burning of fossil fuels.

Illness and disability research is a cause that is very close to my heart. Various members of my family have suffered through Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases. Though I do my best every day to support them, sometimes that is not enough. That is why, if I were to form a family foundation, I would strive to support these research organizations.

The ELP Explorers class has taught me so much about philanthropy and leadership. With the skills that I learn in this course, I hope to someday use them to make the world a healthier, cleaner, and generally better place.

Jackson discusses the definition of philanthropy with his classmate Arielle.