I am a strong believer that each person is uniquely gifted with talent and drive to give back to society – this free market approach will as a result cover a diverse range of causes.
Location: New York, New York
Profession: Management Consultant
Twitter Handles: @SelinaAng, @CornellMBA_SA
What was the first charitable gift you ever gave?:
I grew up in a family that instilled the spirit of giving at a very young age. We were financially limited during my childhood, so everyday luxuries were harder to come by, which pushed us to really think about what’s essential. Even so, we were never wasteful and donated as much as we could in the form of clothing and furniture for local organizations, knowing that there were plenty of others in our community that could benefit from things that no longer fit or worked for us, yet were entirely functional.
What is your charity of choice?:
I am leading a campaign to raise money for a memorial scholarship at Cornell University to honor one of my closest friends from graduate school, Luisa Velasquez, who recently lost her battle to stomach cancer. The scholarship will help recognize and support future talent who demonstrate leadership, diversity & inclusion, and community involvement. The team and donors behind the scholarship fund are a diverse group of individuals who are determined to commemorate Luisa, a true legacy who touched so many individuals and organizations. I am honored to be closely involved in making this scholarship a reality. It’s amazing what strength Luisa has given me throughout this journey – she truly inspires me to make an impact on others as she has made on so many already. We’ve set up a website to share her story with the world: www.rememberluisa.com.
Who inspires you to give?:
My mother – she is a person who wholeheartedly puts the needs of others first before herself. This applies to her family and friends, and to organizations or individuals who demonstrate a meaningful need, whether it is someone in an unfortunate situation on the street or a cause that she has a personal connection to, such as the Luisa M. Velasquez Memorial Scholarship or supporting medical research. As a single mother, she raised me and my brother on limited income and was still able to send money to support relatives in China for decades. For example, she would continue to use a towel with gaping holes in it rather than buy a new one, knowing that the money spent could be directed to loved ones who needed food or tuition money for their children. Most importantly, she has always given her time and love, two things in which there are no substitutes.
What motivates you to give?:
The act of giving is very grounding. It is easy for us to be caught up in our hectic, agenda-filled lives that we often forget to pause, even if it’s for a few moments, to think about how we make an impact in society. I am personally motivated to give because it is an opportunity to create meaningful and lasting impact through my own capabilities.
How do you give of your time?:
I enjoy mentoring individuals who seek guidance or direction in developing their future paths, whether it is for education or launching a career. Throughout my own journey, I received a lot of support from many individuals who devoted time and energy to ensure that I was successful. This meant a great deal to me because I would not be where I am today without that kind of support. I now value opportunities to give back in a similar manner as one way to give my time.
What advice do you have for others to consider giving?:
Giving and making an impact can take on various shapes and forms – food, time, guidance, funding, language translation, anything! It can sometimes be overwhelming to consider the infinite number of people and organizations to give to, but it is important to be passionate about the causes that you support. Whether it is for people or for causes in far-flung places of the world, I am a strong believer that each person is uniquely gifted with talent and drive to give back to society – this free market approach will as a result cover a diverse range of causes, much like how we have the privilege of choosing our professions and hobbies. There is indeed a place for everyone to give. Plus, giving is contagious. Make each gift count and pay it forward!