Alex Dillon on Why Philanthropy is So Important
My name is Alexander (Alex) Dillon, the President of GenCap Management in the greater NYC area.
If you had me make a list of the two things that are arguably the most important aspects of my life, entrepreneurship and philanthropy would undoubtedly be right at the top.
After attending the University of Maryland and graduating in 2011, I started a successful investment firm – Blackbridge Capital – just one year later. I opened a restaurant and launched GenCap Management, both in 2021. During this period I even managed to find the time to get married. I’m grateful for the fact that I was able to accomplish all of this before I turned 32 years old.
But one thing I learned early on was that as my own success grew, so did my ability to give back to and help others. I began to see the impact that even one person could make when their energies were focused in the right direction. I’ve participated with Nyspcc and the St. Francis Food Pantry for four years in a row. I regularly do what I can to support growing businesses with both capital assistance and leadership guidance. I’m even launching my own foundation later in 2022 – that’s how passionate I am about this topic.
Because to me, philanthropy isn’t just important – it’s critical, especially given everything going on in the world right now. This is true for a number of different reasons, all of which are worth a closer look.
It’s About Giving Back to Your Community
By far, the biggest reason why philanthropy is so important comes down to how it helps improve the communities and neighborhoods where we live and work on a daily basis.
Never let yourself forget the fact that we’re all in this together. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from, where you live or what kind of job you have – we’re all connected. What impacts one of us impacts all of us and philanthropy and working with charitable causes is your opportunity to make an impact in the best way possible.
That’s a big part of the reason why I wanted to get involved with the St. Francis Food Pantry – because I knew that doing so would let me help people right here in my own backyard.
It Allows You to Lead By Example
Another one of the reasons why philanthropy is so important is because, through your actions, you have the ability to inspire people to take similar ones. When you dedicate your time to or financially contribute to a cause in some way, the people around you will absolutely notice. You’ll likely inspire at least a few of them to do the same – and suddenly that cause has a number of supporters that it may not have otherwise had.
To that end, charitable giving and volunteering are a bit contagious. If you’re headed out to volunteer at an event with a local nonprofit organization, don’t just assume that you’ll be going alone. Talk to your friends and family members to see who would be interested in going with you. You’d be surprised by how many people take you up on the offer. These organizations often need all the help they can get so the more volunteers they have access to, the merrier.
It Can Help With Professional Development
Of course, none of this is to say that philanthropy is completely selfless 100% of the time. While giving back and helping others should be your primary focus, there are also opportunities to improve your own life through the act of philanthropy, too.
Case in point: networking. When you spend enough time volunteering with local organizations and at charitable events, you’d be surprised by how many people in your own field that you run into. You’ll get a chance to meet people you otherwise might not have and develop the type of network that is great for the purposes of long-term professional development.
Should that be your main reason for giving back and being philanthropic? No, of course not. But it’s okay to consider it as something of a “bonus” at the same time.
It Offers Support to Those Causes That Need It
Right now, there are a plethora of different causes in your area that need support – many of which are sadly understaffed and underfunded. These are hardworking men and women who have already dedicated so much of their lives to improving the communities around them – as stated, they often need all the help they can get.
That’s why, whether you’re donating money, your time or both, philanthropy is hugely important. You’re supporting causes that are likely underfunded and are helping them continue to make the all-important impact they seek.
Especially given everything going on right now, many charitable organizations are seeing their budgets slashed. If you come in and volunteer your time, or if your business makes a sizable donation, you help to fill in a lot of these gaps.
It’s Important to Your Customers
Finally, from a business perspective, philanthropy is important because of the message that it communicates to your customers – especially the younger generations.
People these days are more involved in various causes than ever. They want to support brands that have the same values that they do. They want to know that they’re giving their hard-earned money to a business that cares deeply about the same things that they do. Being philanthropic and encouraging as many people as possible to do the same goes a long way towards communicating the fact that you are that brand.
Should this be your primary reason for giving? Again, no – of course not. But it is something that is very important to a younger generation of consumers which means that it needs to be important to you, too.
In the end, philanthropy will only get more important as time goes on – which is why, if you haven’t already begun to support worthy causes in your own area, now would be an excellent time to start.
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