Monday, June 20, 2011

Philanthropists of tomorrow

Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 by International Coach Federation

This article first appeared in Coaching World.

A small group of emerging business leaders, drawn mainly from Northern Virginia’s hotbed of technology and government contracting firms, outside Washington D.C., USA, is quickly becoming a force in local business community and philanthropy circles.

They’ve been a group, convening monthly, for about 18 months and already their philanthropic contributions just slightly trail those of big business. At the recent Community Foundation Gala, Young Business Leaders (YBL) was one of the largest contributors behind Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading strategy and consulting firm.

YBL is a vision of ICF member Steve Gladis, ACC, a longtime leader and philanthropist in Northern Virginia, who noticed an aging philanthropic population. He facilitates YBL pro bono and offers business coaching to the group’s members.

“Two years ago, I found myself having breakfast with a group of aging leaders and philanthropists. One of the senior participants asked where we thought we were going to find the next generation of philanthropists,” Steve said. “The value of YBL for me is that it represents the future of the Northern Virginia region which I call home.”

Steve started with the names of 20 or so young local entrepreneurs and sent out an email inviting them to an impromptu meeting to discuss future philanthropy in Northern Virginia Today the group includes executives, CEOs and founders of Northern Virginia businesses in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The group’s community impact is great, and the returns members are getting are equally impactful.

“YBL provides me with a unique perspective on leadership, best practices and business development,” says Lawrence Stanley, managing partner and founder of The Cap-X Group, LLC. “As I focus on taking my business and philanthropic life to the next level, YBL has encouraged me to think outside the box to refine my business model while balancing work/life challenges.”

“The forum pushes you to do more as you aim to keep up with some of the most talented and motivated individuals in our region on personal, professional and philanthropic levels,” says Kevin DeSanto, founding partner of Kipps-Desanto.

The price for this type of return is small compared with other business leadership groups that charge $8,000-10,000 annually for membership. For YBL, the only cost of admission is a donation to the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia ($1,000 annually).

“YBL has reinforced the value of giving back to our community, both as a responsibility and an opportunity to leave a legacy," added Emeka Moneme, executive managing director, the Carmen Group.

YBL meetings include a guest speaker from the community, typically people from government and private industry, as well as from large and small companies, who discuss their business, leadership and corporate and personal philanthropy.

Steve encourages other coaches to think about how they could work with community foundations in their hometowns.

“It would be great for other coaches around the country to consider linking up with their local community foundations (almost every community has one)….and for the coaches to start a Young Business Leaders forum themselves…focused on business, leadership and philanthropy. I’m happy to connect with anyone interested in starting such a group.”

For ideas on starting a YBL group in your area, contact Steve at sgladis@stevegladiscommunications.com.

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