Get Rich With Philanthropic Donations
BY: Mike Sovak ’18
Philanthropic endeavors are an important part of making a societal difference. Whether you’re an affluent influence leader, or a college student with a beginner’s bank account, there is a way for you to become a master of philanthropy. In the year 2016, I was exactly that latter description.
In January of 2016 I was elected philanthropy chairman of my fraternity. I had very little exposure to the idea of sharing money with other people – I rarely had a comfortable amount of money for myself. I quickly learned that it was not necessary to donate huge amounts as an individual, there were ways capitalize on the fact that generosity comes naturally to humans.
You see, in this age of fear centered around violence, theft, and other horrible crimes, the only thing that sells better than fear mongering is hope and optimism. The only problem with that? It’s harder to capture hope and optimism. Skepticism runs rampant through the minds of people these days – and for good reason. It takes something special to overcome this trained response and revert back to our natural tendency to trust and uplift others. Philanthropic events are one of the easiest ways to involve people in the act of assisting others.
“Those who give are often blessed with increased interpersonal skills, a new level of empathy, and networks that can benefit them both personally or even professionally…”
It’s no surprise that the fraternity/sorority community has adopted this wonderful idea. As humans receiving higher education it is our responsibility to lift our human kin as much as possible. This process is never done in pity, it is actually a mutually beneficial relationship. There is much to be gained through human relationships, and philanthropic events build relationships between those who give and those who receive. Those who give are often blessed with increased interpersonal skills, a new level of empathy, and networks that can benefit them both personally or even professionally. Those who receive obviously receive the assistance they require – often in the form of monetary or material donations.
This process is common among the organizations on campus, and the mindset shift which I have experienced can also be seen in other members of the Fraternity/Sorority Life community. The Greek organizations on campus each sponsor one or more philanthropy for which they generate all of their funds.
“I think being philanthropy chair taught me the importance of local service. Though I’ve been on several service trips across the country, I’ve never seen a larger impact made than when you are helping others in your own area…”
Just take Alpha Chi Omega as an example, who works with the local Domestic Violence Shelter:
“Having the opportunities to educate not only myself, but also the community at large about Domestic Violence Awareness and the warning signs of such abuse have impacted me in various ways” says Emily Bryan ‘18, president of Alpha Chi Omega. “The most significant way it has impacted me is through my development and education of the topic and how to speak up and out against such issues happening every day and going unnoticed. Empowering others to be the best version of themselves is something that I’ve grown a passion for since being exposed to such a philanthropic organization.”
Another excellent example is Zach Dozier ‘19 of Alpha Tau Omega who worked directly with St. Jude Children’s Hospital:
“Being my organization’s philanthropy chair changed me. I didn’t understand the impact the money we raised could have until I went to St. Jude’s and someone there told me that the extra $10 someone raises could be used to buy the test tube that saves a child’s life. Every dollar raised is used to help the individuals in need and I will take that with me forever to help those less fortunate than myself forever.”
Nicole Siliko ‘18 of Delta Sigma Tau held her philanthropy position nearly two years ago and still finds herself referring back to the powerful development and mindset shift that it gave her:
“I think being philanthropy chair taught me the importance of local service. Though I’ve been on several service trips across the country, I’ve never seen a larger impact made than when you are helping others in your own area. Especially in an area like Alliance, any money you raise or service you organize really does make a huge difference to the ones you are helping.”
This type of sweeping force does not stop impacting you once you graduate. Kelsey Knutty ’16 is a recent alumna who often reflects back on her time at Mount Union:
“I really enjoyed my time as VP of Philanthropy for DST. I took the position shortly after we transitioned our primary philanthropy from a local Alliance center to Akron Children’s Hospital. It was a great experience getting to spearhead a lot of new initiatives and getting better insights into how we could make the lives of children in our local community better. Through the position I learned how to lead with compassion and transparency, which continues to benefit me today.”