I was 15 years old during my first summer job at the Boys and Girls Club. My cousin, who was on staff, gave me an assignment I dreaded: teach 10 and 11 year-olds multiplication. Ugh! I hated multiplication. Despite my stress, I had no choice – the Club was preparing for a Citywide competition in multiplication. I decided my measly goal was not to come in last.
I believed all of us could get through the summer and learn how to multiply. (At least that’s what I secretly held onto.) I learned quickly that when working with people, especially young people, tone and attitude matters. One of the Club Members was the group clown. He never sat still, but loved to learn. Because we built a collective tone and attitude that believed in the end goal, it was that young man who ended up clinching the contest with a correct answer. We won the citywide championship.
The Club Members were so happy and proud. Their joy was contagious. I caught all of it.
Later, as an adult, I worked with philanthropic institutions that provided funds to organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs. I listened to local and community leaders, supported strategies to improve communities, and provided resources. This was a great space. I felt good about myself and loved the people I worked with.
And yet, I felt internally conflicted and increasingly challenged because I realized the entire system was self-perpetuating. Nothing was in place for these under-resourced communities to move beyond their status quo. But what more could I do?
Although working in nonprofit and philanthropic space was an exciting learning experience, I realized that changes needed to occur in other spaces and places. I eventually understood my philanthropic work was pitted against our capital system, one that supported monetary growth at all costs. That philosophy was detrimental to the communities I cared most about.
I’ve realized that the capital investments of philanthropic organizations and individuals are in companies and industries that negatively impact the communities I’ve long supported. So I amended my commitment to the communities I care about. I continue to be philanthropic through giving of my money and time. However, I understand better that philanthropic investments are insufficient. My belief in how our current system works against under-resourced communities has led me to guiding individuals and organizations to align their capital investments with their philanthropic investments.
To be holistically impactful, that’s its own kind of contagious joy.
How I’m expanding what’s possible with money
Because my clients are active in both capital and philanthropic markets, I encourage them to align all their investments to reflect their values and mission — to not see these two buckets of investments as separate. I work with clients to build a value-based intentionality so their financial investments can be as impactful as their charitable work. How can we ensure their financial investments aren’t working against their charitable investments? I’ve found the road is not always a straight line, but by expanding clients’ concepts and ideas around financial investments, there is a greater sense of purpose.
Outside of work, my passions include
I love being outdoors: running, hiking, finding wine-tasting opportunities among nature is what I do with friends and family. Unless, of course, I’m watching ridiculous TV shows. My partner and I are experts at silly TV.