“Her Story” Series
She believes in the power of questions, the importance of optimism and the beauty of boldness, and recognizes that it always starts with people. Had I not learned these lessons from her, I never would have had the courage to launch my own organization.
When I think about the way I want to live my life, I think about my Nani. I think of all the hopes and dreams she gave to me, how I carry the weight of her struggles, how the opportunities I have to succeed have made her sacrifices worth it.
I met Jenny Xia Spradling for the first time in September 2016, at an event for the social-good minded at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. It was just a few minutes, but she was obviously brilliant, tenacious, and kind. I didn’t realize how quickly she would become one of my heroes.
Anyone can verbalize support or wish you luck in your endeavors, but it takes an exceptional leader—a legacy leader—to put time and energy into paving the way to your success. Boryana not only does this herself, but she established an entire organization on this premise.
If you ask a Clevelander to name their hometown hero, I suspect they would probably say someone like Jesse Owens or Lebron James. For me, however, a heroine would come to mind.
I think back often on the female legacy leaders I have been lucky enough to have in my life – my mother, my teachers, and my mentors. These women have instilled in me the need to pay this inspiration and empowerment forward.
History is circular. I am who I am because of the sacrifices and resilience of my ancestors. In time, my sacrifices will honor my roots, paving the way for my children.
As a woman of color, Shellye is a beacon of success for individuals who have traditionally lacked equal access to leadership positions and she speaks openly and honestly about her experiences.
“I Am a Philanthropist” Series
Are corporations evil? It depends on who you ask, but they don’t have to be. I want to enhance the system through which corporations and nonprofits interact.
My philanthropic purpose is to improve quality of life and combat the epidemic of loneliness, which increases the risk of mortality, for aging baby boomers.
As a philanthropist, I believe my private resources should be used to reinforce democratic institutions and facilitate public-spirited reforms. American democracy today feels deeply flawed. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small minority, working class wages are stagnant, and, for some, the government feels oppressive …
I hope to help others align how they live their lives with what they care about so as to maximize their impact on what they value. But doesn’t everyone already do that? It might sound easy, almost obvious. I thought so until I came to the end of my PhD and, for the first time, really had to confront what I would do in the future.
My philanthropic purpose is to ensure all children in the United States have high-quality teachers. As a former educator, I witnessed firsthand the disparities between students with and without privilege in our country.
Other Blog Posts
How would you like to help give away $100,000? It’s not often that an opportunity like this comes your way. But thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Learning By Giving Foundation, any student taking Giving 2.0: The MOOC, a free six-week MOOC (massive open online course), that I’m launching on October 6 can participate…
In 1955, a young man with an irrepressible will and a voracious appetite for learning embarked on a degree at Stanford University. One of five children born and raised in Inglewood, California, he’s now among Silicon Valley’s most active real estate developers and one of America’s most generous philanthropists…
As technology changes the way we communicate, connect, create, consume and innovate, it is democratizing access to opportunity. Education is no exception. New models of learning are emerging and MOOCs (massive open online courses) are reshaping the pedagogical landscape…
Sex and giving — what do these two things have in common? They both feel fantastic! In fact, giving stimulates the same part of the brain that is charged up when we have sex. No wonder it’s addictive. Like giving, making love reflects our passion, but it often happens in a spontaneous, unplanned way…
The fact that 35 percent of all American giving went to religious organizations in 2010 reflects how closely bound many of us are with our place of worship. The power of this personal interaction cannot be underestimated…
Countless forces inspire giving—the public library that showed you a new world in your childhood; the scholarship that enabled you or a relative to attend college; the family member who survived her battle with breast cancer. These are the personal, tangible reasons that compel us to act…
As philanthropists, the most powerful legacy we can create is one that keeps on giving–through our children. Here are ten easy ways to help your young children make giving become a core value of their own…
When it comes to giving, we can draw inspiring lessons from today’s youth. The volunteer rate among sixteen- to nineteen-year-olds, in terms of hours given, has almost doubled since 1989, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Last week…
In an op-ed in last weekend’s New York Times, William Deresiewicz talked about “Generation Sell”—a youth culture in which everyone treats themselves like small businesses that need managing and promoting. I believe...
We all know the expression, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, the same can be said about giving. Giving, it seems, helps you stay healthy and happy. People who volunteered through their job rated their physical and emotional health more positively than non-volunteers, according to the 2010 survey…
Giving stories often have powerful beginnings. Whether that’s an event, a set of experiences, or encounters with certain individuals, something usually inspires us to embark on a lifetime of giving. My giving story started with my parents…
How many times have you given based solely on the fact that your heartstrings have been tugged? Perhaps it was by an online video or a late-night television commercial? Perhaps in response to a disturbing photo in a mail solicitation? Or…
“What you are will show in what you do.” —Thomas Edison When I think of innovation, three definitions come to mind. First, the introduction of something new (Merriam Webster); second, the process of renewing something that already exists…
Amid economic gloom, the news just gets worse. Last month, the unemployment rate rose in most states (in some cases as high as 11 percent), hitting millions of Americans in their pocketbooks. We also learned that in 2010, one in fifteen Americans slipped below the poverty line. Meanwhile…
Every day, millions of ordinary people exhibit extraordinary generosity. You and I are among them. Giving inspires our thoughts, reflects our beliefs, and fills our hearts. It brings meaning to our lives, channels gratitude for our blessings, and gives us hope for the future. We give because…