At work we have partnered with an urban high school for 35 years. Tomorrow a group of 15-year-olds from the school will come into the office for Job Shadow Day.
The students fill out a form in advance to let their assigned mentor know something about them — favorite subject, least favorite, hobbies, career ambitions.
My student has an unusual ambition for a 15-year-old. She wants to be a philanthropist.
Perhaps I will tell her what I read recently about how many of today’s top philanthropists are active in their causes. They don’t just give money.
“The global face of philanthropy is changing,” writes the Christian Science Monitor. “Donors no longer just open their wallets. They’re actively involved in causes, use savvy business practices, and leverage what they give to achieve more good.”
One such philanthropist is F.K. Day. Read how his work has benefited people in Zambia and beyond.
“Life in ruralhas improved dramatically for dairy farmer Cecil Hankambe. He has doubled his milk sales, purchased a farm, and earned enough money to send his children to school. He still milks the same cow and travels the same rugged roads to the local dairy co-op. The only difference now: Instead of lugging a heavy jug on foot, he pedals a bicycle.
“Mr. Hankambe rides a Buffalo, a bike so sturdy and basic that its steel frame can carry up to 220 pounds and be repaired with a rock. Instead of delivering only seven to 10 liters of milk a day, Hankambe can now transport 15 to 20 liters to a chilling station before it spoils, boosting his profit.
” ‘A reliable bike can create reliability in a dairy farmer’s income,’ says F.K. Day, founder of World Bicycle Relief, a foundation based in that produces the Buffalo and provides two-wheeled aid to people in developing nations. ‘You forget how important transportation is.’ “
Day started young, as young as the girl who will visit me at work tomorrow.
“As a teenager, he flew – on his own initiative – from Chicago toto knock on the door of Irish priests who were building schools in ‘s poorest neighborhoods. They hadn’t responded to his letters. But when he showed up on their doorstep, they had no choice but to put him to work.
“That experience laid the groundwork for what followed three decades later. On Dec. 26, 2004, horrific images of tsunami-sweptflickered on TV screens in the . Day, now a successful cofounder of SRAM, an elite bicycle-parts manufacturer, wanted to do more than just fund relief efforts. …
“So he and his wife, Leah, boarded a plane to Sri Lanka. Within weeks, Day had partnered with World Vision; he eventually oversaw the distribution of 24,000 bicycles that gave thousands of people affected by the tsunami the ability to reach their jobs, schools, and health-care centers.” His bikes are now in many countries were transportation needs are great.
” ‘If you can enter something new, open and honestly with beginner’s eyes, something good is bound to happen,’ says Day.”
How does one come by that core impulse to help? Probably it shows itself at a very young age. Even at 15.
Read about seven additional innovative philanthropists in the Monitor.
Photograph: Leah Missbach Day
F.K. Day, President of World Bicycle Relief & Executive Vice President of SRAM Corporation, pictured in downtown Chicago.
other innovative philanthropists