As business leaders, we work hard to achieve success. I surely did — and still so. For many years I worked in a major law firm, earning my success while at the same time building a reputation for honesty and integrity. Today, my company, Jorlee Holdings, Ltd., plays an active role in real estate development by providing financing to developers and construction professionals who don’t qualify for financing from banks and other traditional institutions. I’m proud of everything we’ve achieved and am fortunate to work with an extremely talented team.
It’s no secret that there are many benefits that accompany success. Along with it, though, there is an increased responsibility for those of us who have achieved success to share our wealth with others. That’s a benefit as well. And I’m not alone; many business leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs — both across Canada and around the world — use their wealth, influence and means to serve and benefit those in need. As the great writer Charles Dickens has been quoted as saying, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”
As I say, it’s both a responsibility and a privilege to share our hard-earned wealth with others, and there are many ways you can do that.
Here are just a few examples.
Provide financial support to a cause or organization that’s meaningful to you. There are many business leaders, including myself, who support charitable initiatives. Some people donate to a hospital that treated them or their family members. From building a wing dedicated to a specialty or helping the facility buy the equipment necessary to improve the care they provide, this kind of support is always needed and welcome. Others support their universities, houses of worship, community organizations that help their neighbors, or even initiatives in other countries where needs exist.
Take a team-oriented approach. Encourage your employees to form a team and get involved in some local charitable initiatives. There are a wide range of needs in your community, which are supported by all types of events. Some leaders encourage their employees to go out as a group to build or paint houses. From sports-related events like golf outings to sponsored walking or running events to raise funds, there are myriad opportunities for business teams to give back. When employees work together to help others, the activity provides a tremendous sense of personal fulfillment while also demonstrating that the company is indeed community-focused.
Be a top-level sponsor. As business leaders, we all receive requests to sponsor programs and initiatives that help others. When I receive such invitations I always take a few minutes to learn who or what will benefit from my support, and what specifically my support will enable or provide. I would also add that it’s good to be as generous as possible when doing this. It’s very fulfilling to write such a cheque, knowing that you’re helping others in a significant way.
Create a scholarship. There will always be students who want to attend university or further their education but don’t have the financial means to do so. An ideal way to support educational initiatives is to create and endow a scholarship program. I’ve personally done this for medical students in my community. By doing this you’re not only helping someone in need but in a very real way you’re providing for future generations.
There’s no greater feeling than when you share what you have with others. And besides the sense of personal satisfaction you’ll receive, you’re also likely to reap some benefits as well — meeting interesting new people, being a part of something that improves others’ lives and knowing that you’re making the world — or at least your part of it — a better place.