Philanthropy in the World: More Than One Meaning

By: Abby
Abby is a participant in Allowance for Good's Autumn 2014 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class. 

Although my time is limited in Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy (ELP), I have learned that philanthropy has more than one meaning. The literal meaning of philanthropy is "the desire to promote the welfare of others". The etymological meaning of philanthropy is "the love of humanity". Yet, as I sit here on a Tuesday night in Evanston, IL, writing this blog post, it has finally hit me: philanthropy is not restricted to the definition of a dusty dictionary sitting on my desk.

Last session, we continued studying the types of philanthropy in depth. We discussed two "main" types of philanthropy: corporate and venture. Venture philanthropy is focused on the willingness to take risks and experiment, having a long-term structure set up, and focus on direct engagement from the donors with their grantees. Corporate philanthropy is focused on the belief that a company needs to be responsible for its actions-ethically, socially, or environmentally. Also, corporate philanthropy is a huge supporter of corporate giving, which is a grant making program established in a profit-making company. it is from these programs that gifts or grants are distributed to charitable organizations. Learning about these two different types of philanthropy interested me a lot because it made me think about myself when I get older. I want to become involved in a company that are corporate philanthropists and give back to the community.

For the second half of the session, we had Allowance for Good Associate Board members Tife and Ryan talk with us about what we have learned so far. Tife grew up in Nigeria and then moved to Chicago later in life. The first company he worked for were "terrible philanthropists" (as he put it), meaning that they did not give back to the community and really did not involve themselves in it. However, when he received a new job at a real estate company, that completely changed. Tife informed us that at his job now, he receives an email once a month that asks what charity/organization he would like to donate to. His company matches tries their best to match his donation request and donates it to that company. Ryan, born and raised in Hinsdale, IL, is a credit analyst at Northern Trust. He told us a lot about his occupation and what he enjoys about work, but what really stuck with me were what he calls his "3 Pillars". They were:
1) Always, always, always stay curious.
2) Know your environment.
3) Know your limits & defy them...but also know your job/responsibility and do not become suffocated.

I know for a fact that these 3 pillars will help me grow as a young woman, student, philanthropist, and overall a human being. Staying curious is the beginning of a question, which leads to an interest, which leads to a passion. ELP has really been the beginning "question" phase for me. I have never been that passionate about any specific world problem; of course, I wanted to change them all. Coming to ELP has helped me realize that even though I may not have a certain passion now, there is always something I can do to help people in the world who are not as privileged as me.

I know this is going to sound very cliche, but there is only one world humans live in (unless we magically find Earth's twin in the universe). Humans are not the only beings on Earth, but we are the most powerful beings. It is our duty to help each other while protecting the ground we step on, the air we breath, and the grass we mow. So, to end the post the same way as Ryan ended our session, "We are rich through only what we give. We are poor through only what we refuse."

Abby stands in front of her favorite leadership quote during an activity in ELP: Explorers.

Quality Education for All

By: Lauren
Lauren is participating in Allowance for Good's winter 2014 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program.

I am passionate about making quality educational opportunities available to all children and parents, regardless of their income and their environment.

I came from a poor household where my birth parents were uneducated and uninformed about what opportunities might be available to improve our family’s life. I had no exposure to reading or writing and attended an inner city school thru the first half of second grade. There were 38 children in my first grade class with only one teacher and no assistant. I could not get the help I needed because I didn’t know how to ask for it and my Mom and Dad didn’t know how to advocate for me. My life changed dramatically when my Mom allowed me to live with my godmother. She is a college graduate with a double degree. Suddenly I was immersed in learning, attending a quality district school in the suburbs and gradually coming out of my shell.

My godmother then enrolled me in Baker Demonstration School for middle school. My Mom and Dad would never have been able to do that because of the cost, even with financial aid. By 7th grade I realized how much I had been missing by not attending a quality school. I got all the help I needed and began to achieve academic success in all my subjects.

As a result of my experiences at Baker, I became committed to making the 2014 8th grade graduating class gift something of significance to provide an opportunity for a child like me to attend a high quality school. I am proud of myself because I led this charge. We decided on a scholarship for tuition costs and have been raising money throughout this school year to fund the scholarship through multiple means—bake sales, hot dog lunches, babysitting services, and various partnerships with local businesses.

I am hoping that the Class of 2015 will follow in our footsteps and make a second scholarship available. My classmates and I have worked hard to impress the 7th graders about the importance of this issue.

I will be attending Regina Dominican High School where there is a great emphasis on women’s leadership. I have already attended one of their conferences and learned a great deal about consensus-forming and incorporating diverse opinions into one goal and project. I am determined to continue to work on providing all children with the opportunity to escape a life of poverty through education. My dream is that those of us who get this opportunity will grow in number and commit to continuing the efforts to reach more and more children and their families.

Lauren tells us why she is a Catalyst for Good during our ELP: Explorers class. It reads, "I  am a Catalyst for Good because I am determined to give the choice of education to any child around the world!"