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Philanthropy: The Power to Influence Our Life and Business

Each of us has the power to change someone’s circumstance, status, or situation. We have the power to influence how we view life and the world around us. One way we can do this is to become a philanthropist. This BIG word with a powerful impact can change the world as we know it as business owners.

Philanthropy derives from showing human concern or advancement of others by donating money, property or work to those in need. A philanthropist works to increase the well-being of humankind by charitable aid or donations. As an award-winning philanthropist, I did not set out to become a philanthropist. In fact, when I was in high school and someone asked me to volunteer and I replied, “What? You want me to work for free?” My desire to expose my daughters to cultural and community programs lead me into the world of volunteering.

Power of Influence. When you volunteer in your community, you have the opportunity to discover who lives in your community and how you may be able to support them. In addition, when you serve on committees and boards, you discover how your community, church, or school utilize business services. This knowledge helps you leverage your power of influence. I began volunteering almost 30 years ago. I joined the Parent Teacher Association and volunteered for the fundraising committee at my oldest daughter’s school when she was in kindergarten. It was a predominately white school. I wanted to make sure all students were served. At the time, I was a professional fundraising consultant, helping schools raise money for much needed supplies and equipment. After one year on the board, I led the fundraising committee and convinced the board to use the company I represented to help the PTA raise money. The PTA raised more money than they ever had in the past.

Community of Influence. Another way volunteering benefits you and your community is through connections. When I served on my homeowners association board for over 4 years, I discovered we paid dues collected from homeowners to lawyers, other homeowner associations, management companies, and other service companies. The board members made recommendation and the officers voted on the companies to provide services to our homeowners association. I eventually realized several companies we were using were connected to some of the board members who had been on the board many years. For instance, the pool was being serviced by The Homeowners Sports Association, which charged us over $1000.00 a month back in the early 1990’s. The company being paid through the Homeowners Sports Association was owned by one of the board members’ husband.

As a philanthropist, you should always give without expecting anything in return. However, as the old saying goes, “Luck is being in the right place at the right time.” The good book also reminds us, “Give, without expecting anything in return. Most philanthropic endeavors are based on supporting a cause or showing human concern about what you are passionate about. Usually, it is your passion which puts a voice to your gifts. If someone hears you sharing it, more doors may open up for you and your business. However it happens, philanthropy can influence your life and business.

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