A handshake above a table with papers and a laptop on it

Promise #6: Philanthropy

I am using the word philanthropy very liberally in this context. If you’ll notice all of the promises start with a “P” and I wasn’t willing to settle with “Giving” and break the pattern! ☺ That said, I am not going to lecture you in long form about the need to give. I will simply state a few facts from my journey and perhaps share a few tips as to how you can give.

Map of Philadelphia prison admissions per 1,000 adults in 2008 by zip code of home residence with high school math proficiency

Why Give Back?

I was fortunate at an earlier age to watch the practice of giving as my parents adopted children on a regular basis. It never even dawned on me that it was “giving” per say. My father was a pastor and my mother operated by his side, so I guess that is just how they were built!

If I began to name the people that helped me along my journey, that could be an article unto itself so I won't go there. However, here is what I know. I am the product of God's grace, hard work and a host of people who helped along the road.

I grew up in an area that people suggest success will not come from statistically. In fact, I recently read a report published by the NAACP, that cited:

In Pennsylvania, taxpayers will spend nearly $290 million to imprison residents sentenced in 2008 from just 11 of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods (by zip code). These neighborhoods are home to just over a quarter of the city’s population but account for more than half of the state’s roughly $500 million in prison spending.

One of those 11 zip codes is where I grew up, 19140. I have attached the map they provided so you can see the visual, which is impactful. It allows you to see the correlation within zip code between math proficiency and incarceration. This issue has been a part of the fuel for my passion of helping others.

Nevertheless, throughout my journey – – I found that as I rolled up my sleeves, countless people, from Joe Jankowski, who gave me my first job at the Hardware store around the corner from my home to Steve Hallett, who played an instrumental role as my boss and helping me purchase my first home – – helped. In all honesty, I don't know if they were looking to pay it forward, pay it backward or whatever…all I know is that they gave of themselves.

I have been doing the same throughout my career and thus far here is my takeaway. I get more out of the giving than the person does. It reaffirms my passion. It makes me a better learner because I have a responsibility to ensure I am providing that person with the best possible insight I can. It keeps me focused on “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing,” as I know it has the possibility to be a force multiplier, as I expect them to succeed and help someone else.


Two women sitting at restaurant in front of a window Two women shaking hands

Create a List of Passion Partners

Some Ways You Can Give Back
Mentoring

From Promise #2 forward, we began including the notion of mentors in the conversation. You can now put yourself on the other side of the table. Visualize yourself as being the one receiving the pitch from someone being having received the pitch and being asked to be a mentor. Further, you can be proactive, reach out to those you see looking to pursue your area of expertise.

In each case, you engage with people and share what you know. Also, let me give you some advice here. Don’t for a moment say to yourself “I don’t know enough yet.” If you’re at step five out of ten, then you are able to help folks that at are steps one, two, three or four. The point is, there are always folks who are looking up to you that you can pour into.

Further, in addition to engaging with people personally as a mentor, you write articles, record videos, record audio and take pictures. You can even chronicle the journey as you are taking it at this very moment. You can publish it in blog form and share it on social media. That is one of the most interesting things about the days we are living in.


Two women and a man looking at a wall with sticky notes on it

Sponsorship

As you grow in your passion (purpose), you will identify others that you may want to sponsor.

Sponsorship a bit more formal that mentorship and typically operates inside of organizations. Think of a sponsor as someone of tenured expertise and in a position of influence. They commit to course of action to help a person get to the next level (e.g. next job, career destination, etc.)


A person's hands holding a small piggy bank

Contributions

Find organizations and associations that provide services to people that operate (or desire to operate in your passion) and inquire as to how you can donate of your time and/or finances.

That is just the tip of the iceberg on this one. Trust me, if you google “How can I give back in [fill in your area of passion]” there will be no lack of results.

Thanks in advance for your consideration, doing so makes a difference.

To your success!
James

Go Back to the Summary if you need to!