Sonali participated in our Summer Summit and Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy programs. A native Chicagoan, she is currently a student at Tulane University.
The summer after my sophomore year in 2014, my father signed me up for a program called the Global Philanthropy Summit with an organization called Allow Good. I was reluctant to wake up early during my first week of summer to drive to Evanston in rush hour traffic, knowing no one or what I was going to do that week. Three years later, I am grateful for that week at Allow Good where I learned what the word philanthropy meant or that you did not have to be a millionaire to give to others because of three things-time, talent, and treasure. The vocabulary and knowledge I gained from that week felt much more valuable than anything I had learned in high school. In the spring of my junior year, I had the privilege of going through the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program, which was essential to helping me form what I may want to study beyond high school. When college applications rolled around that fall, I knew I needed to attend a school with focus on both public service and a degree focused on social good.
Going into my second year at Tulane University this fall, I am majoring in Social Policy & Practice and Political Science, with minors in Management and Spanish. Tulane is also the number one school in the country for public service and I work for the Center for Public Service. Allow Good showed me at a formative age the importance of making change no matter what age you are. Further, it taught me lessons about philanthropy, charity, non-profits, and social entrepreneurship I would have never learned without the Global Philanthropy Summit or Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy. I am grateful for these experiences because I know they fueled my desire to work on public education policy following college.
This summer, I was able to join Allow Good on their Summer Summit, attending some of the same workshops I experienced three summers ago, and also seeing how the program has developed and grown. Not only was it a great refresher to revisit many social enterprises and non-profit organizations, but watching the participants' thought processes and creative ideas was thrilling. It is comforting to see that even in a chaotic society with little attention given to social good in schools, students still demonstrate their creativity and social awareness. To me, the Summer Summit showed me the importance of organizations such as Allow Good, which focus on youth and educating them on what they are capable of.