When I hear the word “philanthropy”, for whatever reason, I instantly think of famous people who create charities or donate large sums of money to a cause. However, that is not the only way to define philanthropy. Throughout the world, regardless of age or socioeconomic status, many people find ways to give back to their communities and volunteer to help a greater cause. Whether these actions or donations are large or small, they have an enormous impact on people in need. According to the Glossary of Philanthropic Terms, philanthropic activity is technically defined as any charitable act or other good work, such as volunteering your time or efforts to help others or contribute to the overall well-being of society. So, even though people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett make immense philanthropic contributions, so do everyday people like me and you.
I recently interviewed Lily DeOliveira and Ashley Goldberg, who are both currently freshmen here at Ohio State. Since they are both business majors who also happen to be on the Philanthropy Committee for UBWA, I thought they would be the perfect people to give more insight on this topic and explain how beneficial philanthropy really is.
When I first asked them why they joined the philanthropy committee in the first place, they both had similar responses. “I wanted to try something new and become part of a bigger community, and I knew I could do that by joining UBWA and then becoming part of this smaller committee”, Lily expressed. Ashley and Lily also shared that although they have only been on the committee for a few months now, they have already participated in and planned numerous events, allowing them to really get a feel of what it is like to have this important position. Some highlights of events include the second annual Gala x Bricc Foundation, which both girls said is “by far” their “favorite event to have been able to help plan this entire year”. Lily also added that she is “super excited for this event, as we have spent so much time planning it and we can’t wait to see all of our hard work finally pay off”. They informed me that in the “near future”, they will be “helping to coach girls in the Columbus area through the Girls on the Run program”, which empowers young girls and helps them feel comfortable in the world around them. It is clear that this committee is trying to help as many different people as possible, and I commend them for all of their hard work.
As I dove deeper into this topic, I wanted to find out how planning events like the ones previously mentioned would help with their future goals and aspirations. One response that I got was from Ashley, who said, “even if my line of work doesn’t directly do philanthropy, that doesn’t mean that I can’t do it on my own. Being part of a greater good now is exciting because I truly enjoy giving back to my community, and if I want to pursue that later in life, I may as well get a head start now so I can see which organizations I connect with the most”. In my opinion, this could not be more true. If you find a charity that you’re passionate about, you may as well start helping at an early age.
The answer that many people would have when asked about the connection between philanthropy and business would have to do with large businesses donating to charities or having their own philanthropies that they sponsor. Lily noted that “many businesses do philanthropic work to give back to the community that allowed them to become so prosperous in the first place”. What many people don’t realize, however, is that there is actually a correlation between philanthropy and business, and they really do go hand in hand. Ashley made the point that “when planning the gala, there were many business aspects that we had to take into account, such as marketing and finance”. For example, they had to plan the gala, find a venue, and then market and advertise for the event to make it appealing to go to. Financially, they had to determine how much money they had to plan the event and how much they could afford to spend. For these reasons, philanthropic activities serve to be extremely beneficial for businesses to take part in.
So, when given the opportunity to try something new, such as going to a charity event or volunteering in your local food shelter, do it, because the help is always needed and greatly appreciated. Lily said that if she could give advice to anyone, especially regarding the philanthropy committee, she would say to “sign up, be willing to try new things, take risks, and most importantly, go out of your comfort zone. Ashley and I just applied to this committee as freshmen, not knowing much about it, but we wanted to get involved, so we did. Against all odds, we both got a position, and I could not be more grateful for the experiences and lessons I’ve learned."