15 Philanthropic Quotes from 2015

At Why We Give, we tell stories of ordinary philanthropists. This year, we celebrated over 100 stories. These people inspired us to make an impact in the world. Their philanthropic passions were vast, including education, health, homeless, poverty, tech, youth and beyond.

From volunteers to professionals dedicated to careers in service, their collective impact is mighty. To end 2015, we share 15 inspirational philanthropic quotes from this year. May your 2016 be filled with giving of time, money and skills. Cheers to philanthropy!

“It’s seemed crazy to me that despite the world being more connected than ever before, we hadn’t figured out a way to use those human connections to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems, like lack of access to healthcare. The world is getting smaller, and I saw Watsi as an opportunity to connect people and make it better.”

Grace Garey, Watsi.org, Director of Communications

“I bake muffins and give them to homeless people in San Francisco. I grew up near San Francisco and I truly love the city. When I hear outsiders coming in and complaining about homelessness, it makes me profoundly uncomfortable. These people speak about the homeless people as if they aren’t human–talking about them as if they have moral failings that have led them to be homeless. There’s a lot of lack of understanding of the homeless population, or really a lack of empathy. When I moved back to SF 4 years ago, I wanted to do something to help the homeless, but I didn’t know what.”

-Jacob “Muffin Man” Kaufman, Co-Founder, National Muffin Day 1–31–16

“These building blocks required for economic improvements are so simple. You start with food — the way you stay alive. Everything follows from that — education, professional, and family — none of that can happen on an empty stomach.”

Mayor Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, New York

“I helped develop a Girl Scout patch for philanthropy. It was adopted nationally to teach girls how to give and introduce them to philanthropy. We learned about the organizations, the budgets and making intentional decisions. It informed how I thought of giving.”

Noorain Khan, Ford Foundation

“I felt a pull to contribute to a solution to the challenges that the men and women who had served after 9/11 were facing upon their return. I’m privileged now to work alongside great people at The Mission Continues. I still reflect on my decision to leave the military, but am continuing to serve in new ways now.”

Spencer Kympton, Mission Continues, Founder

“Today, I’m the co-founder of a tech company. I see the talent crunch everyday — the lack of engineers, product managers, designers and the like. To fill this talent crunch, we need to show our students that they can be a part of this ecosystem so that they can make informed choices as they attend college.”

Amy Kodamatsu, Chair of the Board of Directors, MOUSE

“There’s not the time for journalists to spend researching these big ideas that can change the world–stories that shine a light on things that ordinarily we’d have no idea about. We saw that opportunity. Our business was doing well. We thought — we were making money, why couldn’t we give back at the same time?”

Sam Slaughter, Contently Foundation, Vice-President

“We love its tough, gritty and innovative spirit. We love the strength of community and resilience of the city through hard times and creativity of its neighborhoods. As someone fascinated by history, there are few towns in the world with more interesting history than Detroit — it built the Arsenal of Democracy that won WWII, it put the globe on wheels with its auto industry, it brought Motown, electronic music and extraordinary sports stories to the world. To be a part of this city building its next chapter is an honor.”

Ryan Freidrichs, Chief Service Officer, City of Detroit

“Seeing many thousands of people self-identify as philanthropists for the first time through #GivingTuesday has been very rewarding.”

Asha Curran, Director of Social Innovation, 92Y, Founding Team of Giving Tuesday

“The Awesome Foundation in nearly every major city and each chapter is autonomous, with approximately 10 trustees per chapter who each give $100 per month. That pooled $1000 is given to a grantee each month based on the chapter’s decision. We’re part of a global network — there’s even an Awesome without Borders which takes applications from everywhere. We have global summits which address micro philanthropy and giving overall. Every Foundation takes the shape that makes the most sense for them.”

Jesse Chan-Norris and Lee-Sean Huang, Trustees, Awesome Foundation, New York

“Our vision is to become the premiere technology enrichment program for high school students living in New York City. We want to build a community of young people who leverage technology to make a lasting impact in the communities they are from and represent.”

Jessica Santana and Evin Robinson, New York on Tech, Co-Founders

“Last year we raised $13,026,653.23 through the Penn State Dance Marathon, a year-round fundraising and awareness campaign for our sole beneficiary — The Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital! The fact that 15,000 students can all come together and work towards the same goal is truly amazing and reinforces the fact that truly no one fights alone.”

Lily Beatty, ‘THON, Marketing Chair

“This year, instead of a fancy dinner or lavish party, I am asking friends and family to support me in my goal of raising $30,000 — #30Kfor30– by donating to the Stuart D. Bern Philanthropic Fund — part of JCF’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. I have started things off by contributing $3,000 and making a pledge to donate a portion of my future annual income and time to tackle issues around mental health. My hope is that together we can save a life — if not many more.”

Stuart Bern

“The first major philanthropic gift that my husband and I gave was to Madison Square Park in NYC. Our first apartment was up the street from the park. We walked through it every single day. When we lived there the park was super gritty but it was our park. We had just moved to the city and we fell in love with NYC. Danny Meyer was heading up the first private-public partnership for Madison Square Park and he came and talked to us about a gift. We were thrilled to be part of the first round of donors. Today the park is one of the most beautiful vibrant gems in the area.”

Joanne Wilson, Gotham Gal

“I’m a first generation college student. I didn’t have a program like College Connect to guide me through the process. When I’m seeing these young people through this critical transitional moment in their lives I’m also thinking about alumni services and how we help them beyond college graduation.”

Cat Maroquin, Director of the College Connect Program, Mission Graduates

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