On his blog Living Philanthropic, Carlo Garcia shares his everyday endeavors to incorporate giving back into his life. Whether you’re new to fundraising or have been doing it for years, Carlo offers wisdom, inspiration and insight for everyone. He posts his personal stories and photos from the causes he works with while encouraging others to find their passion and get involved. We sat down and talked to him about what pushes him to give back and how he makes charity work a priority in his life.
Can you share with us the purpose behind Living Philanthropic? How did you come up with the idea and why?
When I first started Living Philanthropic, my mission was to change the idea that philanthropy was something reserved for the rich and famous. I wanted to challenge myself to think more about my giving habits, to set a goal to give a little something everyday for a year and see what impact or change I could create. I was walking down the street and a question popped up in my head: “How hard would it be to give to charity every day for a year?” So, I decided to give it a try.
What have you learned from your yearlong giving journey? How has this impacted your life, the lives of others and your perception of giving back?
The biggest thing I learned is that everyday giving is absolutely possible, and it does not always need to be monetary. There are many, many ways to give, even if it’s just kindness or a smile. The ripple effect that my initial year of giving had was outstanding. Many people began to give and start their own missions of giving inspired by Living Philanthropic. I began group fundraisers for different organizations, and we’ve collectively raised $20,000 for charity that first year. We’ve averaged about $20,000 every year since and that is solely based on reported donations. I’m sure the overall impact is much greater. It feels good to give back, work with others and see how vast our impact can be.
What challenges have you faced in your giving journey and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is discipline. It’s easy to get distracted from your goal, so it’s important to make time to give. I would set a reminder for myself to check in and think about what I could do today to give back.
You mention on your blog the need for your generation to be philanthropic leaders. Why is this important?
Both our generation and the next must understand the importance of taking care of those in need—it is the backbone of what makes us human. Our capacity for compassion, understanding and generosity is limitless when we band together for the greater good. I hope that I lead by example, inspire by my work and am always open to mentoring those who approach me with questions or for guidance.
Do you have a cause that is especially near and dear to your heart?
Foundation Escalera is at the top of my heart. For two years, I have raised funds and gone on school building missions with Escalera to Chiapas, Mexico, in efforts to improve the education system for those in need. I firmly believe in the power of education as a tool to better oneself and one’s community. Through building schools, scholarship programs and working with the local officials, teachers and communities, Escalera is creating change one mind at a time. I’m proud to be a small part of their success.
What advice do you have for others who may want to get involved in giving back?
Start small and start locally. Understand that money is nice, but often, your time and your support is even greater! Find causes to speak to your heart. What do you value? What do you want to change? Find organizations that rally around those ideals. Start an online fundraiser, offer to volunteer your time or spread their message on social media. Be present to the opportunities to give back. You have the power to change your world!