Good afternoon, readers. I'd like to continue our Youth Perspectives in Philanthropy series with two more individuals from the JYPI 201 Teen Funders Group, as they discuss what philanthropy means to them. One thing that immediately stood out to me in both of the below essays, is the message of not only feeling and passion but also involvement and change. There is a blog post on Tactical Philanthropy that discusses the opportunity to balance both empathy and expectations while practicing effective, tactical, or high impact philanthropy.
Since I was a little kid, I always dreamed of being a board member for a major company: going to meetings, asking questions, and debating with colleagues. This feeling of being a “board member” was the first thing I loved when I joined JYPI in 8th grade. I felt mature asking questions to the adults that ran these organizations, and sitting at a big round board room table deciding what organizations we wanted to “invest in.”
As I got older, I started to love the missions of organizations, as much as I loved the process of grant making. These organizations brought to my attention problems in my community and throughout the world that I had never thought of. Their ingenious solutions to these problems never ceased to amaze me. Falling in love with an organization and their mission is the best feeling in philanthropy. I fell in love with an organization called PlayPumps International (now a program of Water for People and Case Foundation Partnership). At PlayPumps, they go to villages in Africa where little girls will miss the beginning of school because they have to walk miles every morning to fetch water for their village. To address this problem, PlayPumps would identify underground wells near the villages, build a pump and attach a carousel to the pump so that when kids played, clean water would be pumped into a storage container. I fell in love with Play Pumps because the idea was so basic, so simple, and so helpful. For me, philanthropy has taken my love for business and changed it into a love for community service. I sometimes find my self thinking about the types of community service I will chose to do when I am older, and wondering whether there will be programs like JYPI still in existence that will give teens the same opportunities that I was given to be a young philanthropist.
The word philanthropy means to promote giving back to others, by caring about issues in the world. It is a way to enforce the idea that if we all “love humankind”, then we would be satisfied. In my opinion, philanthropy does not always require the donation of money. Building awareness about a cause or telling others about an organization’s mission statement, services, and volunteer opportunities are just as valuable. People helping people and acts of loving-kindness can go far.
I consider myself a philanthropist because through the JYPI program, I donate my own money and learn about communities as well as individuals in need. Through JYPI, I have learned to care more about an organization’s purpose and how it will use my money. Additionally, I also find myself being more critical of the way an organization is run and how they use their mission as a means to make a difference.
I volunteer at a local organization called The Friendship Circle, which I discovered when they submitted a grant proposal to my JYPI group. Through my experiences with Friendship Circle, I discovered my own personal passion for kids with special needs. We can all make an impact by “doing good”, whether it is for kids, the environment or animals. Philanthropy, normally defined as monetary giving, is one way of “doing good” and making a difference. Simply caring and making others aware of important causes is also enough. After learning about the grant process and how organizations work, the truth is that no one organization will fix the world, but every organization that cares make a difference.