In 1993, I became both impressed and enamored with two adorable and smart middle-school sisters, at the Boys and Girls Club, on the perilous Westside of my hometown of Chicago. I was honored to have been asked to serve on my first board of directors there. Since then, it has been exceedingly rewarding to work with nearly a dozen nonprofit organizations, in roles ranging from volunteer to board member to CEO, in four different states. But it was this first opportunity that allowed me to realize my passion for helping develop young people—particularly the underprivileged.
The thought was, why should these brilliant, and talented, young women not have the opportunity to flourish in their personal, and academic, endeavors because they happen to be born in the “wrong ZIP code?” They deserved to benefit from the recreational, and educational, programs the Club offered.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says philanthropy provides, “goodwill to fellow members of the human race, especially active efforts to promote human welfare.” These efforts can take numerous forms, such as giving your time, talents or treasure. Let’s examine how you can make “the human race” a little better by connecting with your “inner philanthropist.”
Not sure where to start? What are you passionate about? Animals? The environment? Veterans? What are your beliefs and how can you channel your passions into an organization aligned with those beliefs? There are many ways to help, from volunteering at events to making a financial contribution, etc. You can check volunteermatch.org, or contact United Way, to identify an organization that can use your assistance. Seek out organizations where there’s a match.
Once you settle on a nonprofit organization to which you’d like to commit, make sure you are able to keep that commitment. You don’t want to join a board and only attend half of the board meetings.
Today’s action item is to identify three nonprofits that match your passions, beliefs and values. Next, contact them about opportunities to aid in their mission. Some worthy nonprofits include Progressive Abilities Support Services, which helps persons with disabilities secure, and maintain, meaningful employment at no charge. Also, the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind, which provides a wide range of free services to assist the blind, from babies to the elderly.
As Tampa Bay Business and Wealth recognizes some of our area’s most outstanding leaders in philanthropy, we should all think about how fortunate we are and how we might have a positive impact on our community. The world will be much better if we all play a small role and give something back.
G. Deon Bradley is a national business consultant and executive leadership coach, with a track record of more than 30 years. He helps his clients get results and enhance their careers and/or businesses. For information or a free 90-minute consultation, contact him at bradleycoaching.com.