Teach me how to fish

Sometimes, I like to take a break from my regular articles to highlight some important issues. At the moment, this has been weighing on my mind…

During my high school and university days, I used to run a small valet parking company with a close friend of mine. The business involved parking cars at house parties, weddings, corporate events, and charity functions.

Many of the events we worked at involved some of Toronto’s wealthier residents, holding fundraisers and galas at their own estates and homes, and while I admit that I was wowed by the big homes and fancy cars, what really caught my attention was how these people were so willing to open their doors, wallets, and hearts to a variety of important causes. Even though I was very far from making that kind of money, I knew that eventually I wanted to give back to the community in a similar way.

Fast forward to today and I still have the same drive and determination to help others as I did several years ago. However, there’s one road block I can’t get passed, I don’t have the kind of money some of my previous clients did. Whatever money I do make, I end up investing back into my business to help it grow. This makes it difficult for me to really “give”‘ on the scale that I would like to. I always say that I would rather invest $500 back into my own business now, so that I’m able to give $50,000 to a charitable cause further down the road. There is also the issue of time. Just as my business requires constant monetary reinvestment, it also requires me to reinvest a sufficient amount of time into its growth. These two factors have made it increasingly difficult to take the steps necessary to bring my philanthropic vision to life.

In an effort to meet my goals, I have attempted to reach out to some of the “big givers” who may be able to provide me with some advice and direction in order to help me grow my business. I always say that if you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best, and that is exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m not looking for money, but rather the opportunity to speak with successful business people who can help me get to the next level of giving by helping me grow my business.

Unfortunately, it seems that while many of today’s philanthropists are very generous with their wallets, there are no mechanisms in place (by these individuals or their foundations) to assist in developing the next generation of philanthropists….the big givers of tomorrow. Given that many of today’s philanthropists are also today’s visionaries and leaders, I’m somewhat surprised that this is the case. As a result, if anyone knows individuals or organizations that could provide me with the assistance I am looking for, I would really appreciate hearing from you.

Someone once said….if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Can someone please teach me how to fish?


 

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