My grandmother (inspires me to give). She lived in a poor village in central Ukraine and was a milkmaid her entire life, and yet ALWAYS gave. She had so little, but never said no to helping out; she gave to the community, to neighbors, to family, to anyone who needed it…
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Profession: Business development associate at viagogo, ticket e-commerce company
What was the first charitable gift you ever gave?:
The first check I wrote was to the TEAK Fellowship, but I made charitable gifts throughout junior high school and high school, to organizations like the American Red Cross, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and others.
What is your charity of choice?:
The TEAK Fellowship, which helps talented New York City students from low-income families gain admission to and succeed at top high schools and colleges.
Who inspires you to give?:
My grandmother. She lived in a poor village in central Ukraine and was a milkmaid her entire life, and yet ALWAYS gave. She had so little, but never said no to helping out; she gave to the community, to neighbors, to family, to anyone who needed it. She was very loved. She passed away a few years ago, but people still talk about her heart and her spirit. She loved people and did everything she could to help them. That is the most important legacy you can leave.
What motivates you to give?:
There’s a reciprocity you have to have with the world, with everything that goes on in life. As an immigrant, I feel very lucky to live in the U.S., to have an education, to have work, to have a safe place to live, and the basics. Many people do not have basics yet, and there are many ways we can help out. What goes around comes around.
How do you give of your time?:
I volunteer at events at the TEAK Fellowship, anything from talking about high school with fellows to helping them improve their college interview skills. I just moved to Geneva, Switzerland, and am looking for opportunities to volunteer here. Education and immigration are two causes near and dear to my heart.
If you could start your own charity, what would it be?:
I would start a program that is focused on helping immigrant kids adjust and succeed in the US. Most academic-enrichment programs are based in city centers, but there are many children in the suburbs and rural areas that need programs to help them adjust. I went on an Alternative Spring Break Trip to Tennessee a few years back and was shocked by the lack of support Spanish-speaking students had in Memphis’s public schools. Growing up in Brooklyn, I had ESL resources, fellow classmates from the same part of the world, and a lot more community support to pursue my education and adapt. Immigrant children would do even better if they had strong support systems. Many of them already have the internal drive; with some support, I believe they can go to the moon.
What advice do you have for others to consider giving?:
I took Professor Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s philanthropy class when I was a student at Stanford, and I internalized this piece of her teachings: “Give equally among your resources: your time, your mind and your capital.” 100% agree. I would argue giving of your time and mind can be more meaningful than capital. Ideas and networks are vital to nonprofits and philanthropy.