One Donor's Journey
From mentoring to medical centers, the stories I heard from the Slate 60 gathering this week provide futher proof that an emerging breed of philanthropists quickly and forcefully migrate toward partnerships that leverage impact.
Consider the case of Joe Roberts whose passion is for helping kids. Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of J.E. Robert Companies (JER), a private commercial real estate investment and asset management firm with operations throughout North America, Europe, and Mexico, Joe began his helping avocation through a one-on-one mentoring relationship nearly two decades ago. That led to his founding Fight for Children which addresses the broader systemic issues that his young charges faced. He says "... [kids] can't change the school system, they can't cure diseases that afflict them and they can't mentor themselves. Somebody who really cares has to do that for them."
As he told Slate attendees the story of how he founded of Fight for Children in 1990 and chronicled the developments since, I'm not sure even he was aware of how much his efforts had evolved and progressed to tackle bigger and bigger "systems" that affect needy kids' ability to be successful.
From mentoring to education and then on to health -- each project got bigger and broader and the partnerships involved more players and resources. This is increasingly what we are seeing when successful private individuals begin problem solving in the social sector. They don't talk about "collaboration," they just bring the varying resources -- for profit, nonprofit, governmental --- together to gain leverage.