“Philanthropy is involved with basic innovations that transform society, not simply maintaining the status quo or filling basic social needs that were formerly the province of the public sector.”
Social entrepreneurship can change the world by bringing forth the humanity in each of us and making compassion, generosity and benevolence a hallmark of a truly great society and a great people. Giving back to the community is a joy and has the added benefit of building new relationships. This is what philanthropy is about… connecting, interconnecting, being part of a community, sharing our knowledge, skills, hearts and good fortune with others.
Especially in these uncertain and chaotic times, many people are struggling with some issue… health, finances; a loved one, friend or colleague going through a rough patch. Generosity, compassion, and kindness can make the difference between life and death, being homeless or provide help to find a cure for a disease. For many professionals, especially entrepreneurs, the bulk of their business is from within their own community. What better way to build a distinctive and respected reputation then to find some way to help the very people from whom you make your livelihood?
Merchants/entrepreneurs are the core, the backbone and at the forefront of society. Small business owners actually drive the economy and generate approximately 60 to 80 percent of new jobs, employ approximately 50% of the private sector workforce, represent 97 percent of the exporters of goods, represent approximately 95 percent of all employer firms and generate a majority of the innovations that come from U.S. companies. Entrepreneurs don’t just “talk the talk,” they “walk the walk” and make life better for others. What would the world be like without the social entrepreneurship of Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, Jean Monnet, John Muir. Jim Grant, Muhammad Yunus, or Bill Drayton? Social entrepreneurs are the Risk Takers and Change Makers of the past, present and future. They are the prophets and creative thinkers who don’t take the “beaten path,” but blaze new trails with excitement and hope. They live their passion… and make things happen…
Another aspect of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy that many people are not aware of is its “transformative” quality. This “transformation” begins with a vision for change. Who are more visionary than entrepreneurs? Whether it’s Sam Walton, Henry Ford or the garage owner who had a vision of fixing peoples’ cars combined with kindness and compassion. What social entrepreneurs have in common is the vision of something different, something better. One need only look around to see how much need there is for “change,” if we have the eyes, heart and courage to see it and then the vision to be a Change Agent. Entrepreneurs are naturally Change Agents… distrupters of the status quo. Entrepreneurs are innovators, “out of the box” thinkers, visionaries and doers. Extraordinary by every standard.
Most entrepreneurs have a vision to be and do something unusual. They are original thinkers who are transformers, creating change every day. Their passion and intensity are limitless. They are the opinion makers and leaders. Social entrepreneurs create and live new paradigms, open new boundaries and have the potential to alleviate suffering and enhance others’ lives. Like a stone cast into the water that creates ripples, every act of kindness and compassion reverberates throughout.
Business and social networking makes people connectors and builds a sense of community. The transformative quality of philanthropy is also a two way street. The two-way street is that each act of kindness is a catalyst for internal change and growth in a positive way. When a social entrepreneur donates to a charity, creates a new foundation, hosts a gala, or give a portion of their profits to a cause, they have the potential of finding within themselves a depth of compassion, a spirit of welcome, a heart that unconditionally doesn’t judge someone else’s circumstances. Philanthropy can be a doorway to self development and builds trust and loyalty in our friends, clients, customers and community.
Every act of kindness and benevolence is an inspiration to others. Ask anyone who has struggled at any time. Look at your own life and those times you couldn’t have “made it’ without the help of others. If life and creating a vibrant, growing business, cultivating business and social relationships isn’t also about philanthropy, it is a lost opportunity personally, professionally and a loss to the community. Anyone can be a Ripple that creates a huge wave of positive, loving, kind energy. The time is now… the opportunity is ALWAYS.