Taking Philanthropic Leaps in 2016

By design, philanthropy makes us stretch — giving from one to another. With an extra day this month, we asked Why We Gives community to share how they aspire to give differently in 2016. Here are 18 reflections, paraphrased from our conversation, at this month’s Philanthropic Friday Dinner:

  1. The language we use to describe a disability needs to change. I refer to myself as physically challenged. With March being Cerebral Palsy Awesomeness month, I would like to contribute to that change by educating others.
  2. New York State lags behind the nation in organ donation registration. On behalf of Lauren’s Law, pioneered by a young woman who went from patient to advocate, I would like to contribute to the education of the importance of this important registration.
  3. We need to be more public about how we discuss giving. We don’t publicize our philanthropy enough from everyday giving. Organizations like the One Percent Foundation challenge us to give meaningfully at the level we’re at financially.
  4. Launching a company, we’re bootstrapping. Yet, each of us give individually. As we grow, I would like to think about how we can channel this giving into employee philanthropy.
  5. I want to ensure that youth in foster care and other under served youth can have access to technology skills that will set them up for success. I also would like to leverage my experience in corporate philanthropy to help others think about how their companies can give back.
  6. As a nonprofit founder, it can be easy to only focus on your cause. I want to find ways to support other causes that are making a difference in my community.
  7. I will always remember my humble beginnings growing up. My leap is to help students from University with navigating the job search and supporting the non-profits that supported me growing up.
  8. I started by own venture that I want to ramp back up to make this year the one where I introduce people to smaller nonprofits. I hope that there can be a way to find people who are aligned with our values system to build experiences around meaningful connections.
  9. Before young adults become young professionals, we need to educate them from a young age about how to give. I don’t think we talk to teens and college students enough about philanthropy and giving to their community. I want to change that.
  10. While I have personal causes, I want to involve my company in giving. I have a significant opportunity to create change with 40,000 employees.
  11. Causes come to me mostly externally. People ask me for money and I respond. I want to internalize it, to think about and find my cause.
  12. Because I work in the nonprofit world, it’s easy to get compassion fatigue. I appreciate this as a moment to explore causes where I’m not giving attention to currently. I’m also cognizant of how to inspire people to do more good things.
  13. For those of us who work in nonprofits, we date our organizations — long nights and huge passion. I want to find my nonprofit boyfriend. I recently reconnected with my roots in another city where I lived and I am finding a way to bring my current nonprofit love to that city by building tech networks to help kids.
  14. I think a lot about tithing and how I can give more. I am thinking about the formulaic process of giving in honor of people we can about for causes they care about.
  15. As Business School students, we’re focused on ourselves. While we’re job searching, we say that we want a job that can make an impact. I’d like us to make a difference in that way. While New York City can feel like a place of transients, I would like to do more to make it have a sense of home.
  16. I want to get more involved in mentoring. I find it’s the best way of giving back. I volunteer with my college alumni network to help first generation college students by giving career advice.
  17. I signed up to be a tutor with a nonprofit and even did the training. Now, I want to show up and be a tutor. I also want to think about daily acts of gratitude. On my birthday, I’m going to start a letter a day to a person to thank them for something specific in my life.
  18. Nonprofits are understaffed. They often have trouble telling stories. I want to extend my experience in the film making community to connect with nonprofits with one day of time for story telling to spark ideas.

There’s still time to share your philanthropic leap with us — how will you give differently in 2016? Tell us.

This post was originally published on Medium.


Julia Levy, Founder, has a decade of development experience, including working for a philanthropist, a small nonprofit and now a large nonprofit. She has raised significant dollars for numerous causes, from education to religion and from donors of all ages. Julia holds a Certificate in Fundraising from NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. Julia has taught fundraising workshops, most recently at Brooklyn Brainery and coached development professionals.


Taking Philanthropic Leaps in 2016

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