Posted by: danielrashke | May 12, 2011

Active Philanthropy

I talked about it at our Annual TASC Company Meeting.  I talked about it again during the Provider Incentive Program convention in San Antonio, Texas.  It’s a topic that is very near and dear to my heart: philanthropy. I know that many of you are philanthropists in your local communities.  I am sure you think as I do, that giving back to the community makes you feel good, helps you feel connected, that you are part of something bigger, something deeper.

With the assistance of several members of TASC’s Board of Advisors, I developed the concept of Active Philanthropy, which is how I describe my involvement in the community as a business executive/owner. Active Philanthropy is not just writing a check; it’s showing up, contributing resources and getting engaged in the process.  This includes giving not only your money, but also your time, your mind, and your heart.

It’s true that most of us do not become involved in philanthropy for business reasons, yet there is a business aspect to philanthropy.  Being active in your community creates business opportunities, builds brand awareness, and increases networking opportunities for your business. In addition, philanthropy is part of the personal development path for many executives and business owners.  Through philanthropy you encounter opportunities for formal and informal learning from other business leaders, and through philanthropy you will develop relationships with other business people that could benefit your company.

Roughly five percent of TASC’s profits are available to contribute to philanthropic efforts. This commitment is manifested in many ways, with the largest component going to agency and volunteer development and healthcare related directives. Examples of this at TASC include a policy that permits our employees to take up to four paid days a year to volunteer, and a program through which we offer free administrative services to small non-profit organizations.

For TASC’s part, the strategic intent of our philanthropy continues to evolve.  We continue to seek answers to many questions… What population should our efforts target? What results do we seek? What resources will we commit? I have developed some guiding principles regarding philanthropy, although these are in no way final. I believe that TASC’s philanthropy will be related to health and financial issues, and will be aligned with a vulnerable population and the strategic intent of TASC. Besides being entrepreneurial in nature, innovative in its approach, and tolerant to risk, TASC’s philanthropy will produce a beneficial impact or create value within our community. 

Using those guiding principles, I developed this possible hypothesis: In the future we will see less employer and government involvement in an individual’s healthcare access and education. As a result, the younger– future generations or a subset of this population will be vulnerable.  If this hypothesis proves to be true, perhaps our future philanthropy will focus on fostering health and financial literacy, specifically as these relate to the access and management of health related resources for the young and vulnerable consumer.

Will this hypothesis and focus come to fruition? Obviously it remains to be seen.  What is certain is that TASC will continue to look for ways to help with our money, our time, our minds, and our hearts.


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