It would seem that I have been on a lifelong journey to bring me to the establishment of the Circle of Generosity.
Like many of us, as a child, I was taught that it is important to do good things for other people, that giving is better than receiving, and in our family, we were always encouraged to practice that sentiment.
Whether through my professional life or my personal life, giving back has always been an important part of how I wanted to live my life.
In college, I tutored blind children, visited the elderly in nursing homes to give them some company, and served meals in soup kitchens. I always wanted these acts of kindness to be anonymous. It was my way of contributing to my community. As an adult, I tried to expand this in unique and even fun ways.
For the Volunteers of America, the largest providers of homeless services in New York City, I started the GQ Clothing Collective, which became the largest clothing drive in New York City for a number of years. This involvement led me to joining their Board of Directors, ultimately becoming Chairman. VOA’s mission is to serve the homeless and to help them to find ways to lead productive lives back in the community.
As a busy professional, Board involvement was a way for me to give back. At VOA, we established a New York Christmas, which over 10 years raised millions of dollars for food voucher programs for the homeless during the holiday season. The Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation was another Board that I joined, to help support their goal of granting wishes to children who were seriously ill. My giveback included leading expeditions to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, in the Himalayas in Nepal, as well as hikes in Patagonia. With these trips, along with several photography exhibitions, and the proceeds of several photography books, I was able to raise over $50,000 for the children, and in all cases, I wanted my gifts to be anonymous to the recipients.
At Friends Without A Border, an organization that raises funds for the Children’s Hospital at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, I was involved in photography auctions that also raised money anonymously for this badly needed source of healthcare.
Through my passion for global travel and photography, I have been inspired to explore random acts of kindness for people in need, regardless of where they lived in the world.
In a village in India, I found myself funding a small women’s group, who needed micro-financing to develop a crafts business. In Mozambique, when I saw that the children in a small village only had tattered clothes, I came back to the states and held a clothing drive and shipped 8 big boxes of clothes to the village. And in a small village in Mexico, I found myself contributing to the development of a new sewage facility.
In all of these experiences, what was gratifying was giving these random acts of kindness for nothing in return.
And while there is need around the world, there is also a lot of need at home. Katrina is an example of that need, and being part of a team that went to the ninth ward to help rebuild the house of a stranger was only one example of how an act of kindness can happen.
So, I find myself looking for random acts of kindness for people in need and this is what led me to Circle of Generosity.
My idea was to find a way to help other people give random acts of kindess too. Whether it is here in the U.S. or somewhere abroad.
What I have learned is that people want to contribute, to participate, to help solve an everyday problem for someone in need, and that is our mission.
Circle of Generosity is a Foundation that allows anyone to grant an anonymous wish. To help someone in need of basic living, health or educational expenses.
I’ve learned over the years that the most gratifying way to give back is to be anonymous and to be selfless. It is the way that all of us can help our fellow citizens of the world….and that is the story of how Circle of Generosity was born. To help everyone join in the act of giving.