As a career-oriented businessman with no kids (or intention to have any), I can’t help but feel some sense of obligation to be charitable. And it gives me a card to play when my friends with kids tell me how much they admire the free time and extra cash I have because I’m not coaching little league or dropping six figures for tuition bills. So I am destined to a life of career, travel, and philanthropy. But I started to wonder…what role should a business really play when it comes to charity?
A System for Giving
It’s always fun to watch how a client responds when asked about his system for charitable giving. People are so darn private about this topic, perhaps out of fear that I might think they aren’t giving enough or are doing it “wrong.” It’s not my place to care how much a client or friend gives relative to his income or assets. But, I can’t stress enough how much more fun I’ve had with my charitable giving since I started treating it like exercise instead of some year-end tax-reduction move. I wrote about this in “The Charity Challenge” in 2011. So I figured, why the heck not do the same thing at our company? We’re calling it the Abacus Generosity Initiative (AGI).
Instead of doing the token corporate annual volunteer event where employees are “asked” to participate in some cause that we’ve chosen, we will do something every month and let the staff decide when it’s in their wheelhouse. It’s a bit of an experiment and a chance to bring clients, friends, and colleagues together around a common interest. It also fits snugly with our new firm purpose of “expanding what’s possible with money.”
So far (for 2014), we’ve sorted work clothes for homeless people who are preparing for job interviews, bowled to raise money to prepare adults with disabilities for employment, and launched a pro bono financial planning service. For those of you who are athletically inclined, my personal fave is next month…
Breaking Bones for Charity – Trampoline Dodgeball
Each team will be playing for a charity, and we will make a donation for each player that gets into the ring. An anonymous donor has graciously offered to give $1,000 to the “tournament” winner’s charity! If you want to join in the fun, click here.
AGI will include educational events for the public and other opportunities for you to engage alongside us. And if you have a favorite charity that you feel deserves consideration for our $10,000 Abacus 2014 Charitable Grant, please apply here.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. This blog is provided for informational purposes, and it is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation or endorsement of any particular security, products, or services.