Giving Back: It’s Easier (And Cheaper) Than You Think

Philanthropy for millenials in a barely post-recession economy doesn’t mean throwing our non-existent wads of cash at problems. For these two young philanthropists, it’s about changing perceptions of issues and creating a culture of charity. And that doesn’t mean you need a lot of money to get anything done. Quite the contrary.

Christian Elliott.

Originally hailing from Ithaca, New York and currently studying at McGill University in Montreal, Christian has been involved with philanthropic efforts in Haiti for a few years now. Living the normal student life Christian was hit with an existential crisis: this couldn’t be it, he had to be destined for something more extraordinary then the daily grind of studying during the day and, um, “studying” at night.

Christian thought hard about what talents he had to offer, banded together with some friends, and began Developing Pictures Media, a nonprofit organization which provides media services to grassroots organizations in developing countries. DP sends filmmakers to visit on-the-ground NGO’s, films what they do, produces and publicizes promotional videos in hopes of recognizing important- and otherwise unrecognized- development work. And, according to Christian, all it took was an idea about, “What skills do I have to offer? How can I get involved? And what I can do to inspire change in communities?”

For Christian, philanthropy isn’t about the money; it’s about the prospect of meeting new people and forming deep emotional connections with them. “Mentorship, relationships, and how changing a community begins by changing how one person feels and thinks- that’s what philanthropy is all about.”

Justin Abrams.

For this native of New York City, music was always in his blood- he grew up two blocks from Lincoln Center. Instead of focusing on philanthropy in the developing world, Justin always had a more personal, immediate relationship to philanthropy.

First and foremost, he grew up receiving multiple scholarships and awards which fostered the beginnings of his musical career; Justin is now one of the most preeminent students of cello in North America. “If it wasn’t for the generosity of those donors growing up, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I had, which shaped who I am as an artist today.” Justin began to give back by using his skills, in the only way he could at a young age- by giving musical performances at event after event after event, a celebration of his ability which, were it not for philanthropy, would not be as developed as it is today.

“Giving back is about giving opportunities to people to help them develop their talents, who they are as people. It’s the most rewarding thing to know that you’ve helped shape excellence in another.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *