You’re probably thinking to yourself, “What on earth does ‘The Eleemosynary Entrepreneur’ mean?”. I came across the word quite some time ago and for some reason, it stuck with me.
I think it was because I was embroiled in an existential conundrum, or to put it another way, wondering what in the world the purpose of my life was! So, during this puzzling period, I was asked to participate in a charitable event and having an inclination to explore a new opportunity I agreed. The extent of my participation was to deliver an array of craft beers to a non-profit fundraiser so that the guests would be able to enjoy some unique artisan brews on a sizzling summer day. I arrived early for the setup, greeted the host of the event, and proceeded to haul case after case of beer into the garden. About halfway through the process, the host of the event returned and helped with the remainder of the libations. When we had finished, the host thanked me graciously, mentioned that he had no idea I would be gifting them with such an incredible variety of rare and exciting beers, and pointedly explained that this would be the highlight of the event. It immediately struck me that something so simple an undertaking in my opinion, would result in such lengthy and benevolent praise from my host who was, I might add, an entrepreneurial man of considerable means. He then inquired if I would be so kind as to take ten minutes to drink a beer with him and hear about the charity. I readily agreed as the cloudless summer day had left me hot and quite thirsty.
About 30 minutes and two delicious Sour Stouts later, I left the impromptu meeting intrigued by the passion, enthusiasm, and dedication that my host possessed for his charity. Over the next year, through a series of fortunate events, I would be invited to sit on the board of two notable organizations. I welcomed the unparalleled joy and feelings of fulfillment that were brought by philanthropic actions; interestingly there was also a degree of professional satisfaction achieved as I felt my particular skill set was not only appreciated but invaluable to the charity. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the rich friendships and associations that I have been introduced to. Surely, if time is your most valuable resource, then relationships are a close second.
Now almost two years later, I am in the process of founding my own charitable organization. I work with, support or am actively involved in 5 other charities as well. As an entrepreneur, I feel that it is incumbent on us to become pioneers and leaders not only in our particular ventures but also in the art of giving! To clarify, I do not necessarily mean money. I believe that our gifts and talents are infinitely more valuable of a contribution than a simple financial donation.
I hope this brief memo will inspire you to engage in the betterment of not only yourself but society and the world as a whole. The journey of the entrepreneur is exciting, varied, and diverse- but at times the walk can be lonely. The eleemosynary entrepreneur embarks on that same adventurous journey but will never walk alone.