Back in March, we covered a story about man named Carlo Garcia and his 365 days of giving back to 365 different charities. His blog, Living Philanthropic, became a viral sensation, inspiring the world to give back, no matter the amount, in order to make a difference.
Now, four months after his year-long endeavor, Living Philanthropic is still a growing effort that continues to create awareness for causes and organizations in need.
Carlo Garcia was kind enough to share his story with CPXample and tell us more about the current initiatives of Living Philanthropic.
Q: Living Philanthropic became a somewhat viral sensation last year. How and when did you decide to start the 365 days of giving back and what advancements have been made to see it continue through another year?
Carlo Garcia: It’s so true. I never imagined it would take on the viral life it did. Back in April of 2010, the idea to give every day for a year popped in my head and I decided to challenge myself to see if it was possible. I also wanted to prove that it doesn’t matter how much you give as long as you give on a consistent basis. It will add up. Everyone has the power to make an impact. I have been actively seeking partnerships and opportunities to increase the impact of Living Philanthropic for year two, including featuring one charity a month and trying to obtain matching donors. For the month of August, I have an anonymous donor matching team donations to the Crowdrise page up to $1,000. This gives us the opportunity to double our impact, thanks to a kindred giving spirit.
Q: In your opinion, what is the importance of spreading the word and giving back?
CG: Spreading the word and giving back go hand in hand, sometimes they are one in the same. For some people, the only thing they may be able to give is their voice and in fundraising that is a powerful gift. We trust our friends and families greatly and when my friend tells me about an organization that means the world to them, I am inspired to find out more. If there is a cause or organization that you believe in, you have two choices: you can give use your voice, hands, or donations to move the cause forward (or) do nothing and nothing may get done. I prefer to take a chance and try to make a change.
Q: How has this project changed your views/ideas about philanthropy?
CG: It has been a reclamation for me. It has only fortified my belief that anyone can be a philanthropist and even small donations matter, because these small donations have a great power when brought together for a common goal. Why should the rich and famous have all the philanthropic fun?
Q: What has been your greatest personal achievement throughout your philanthropic venture so far?
CG: There have been many victories in my venture so far, I think the most inspiring result of Living Philanthropic for me is the donations made that were inspired by the work of Living Philanthropic. That fact that so many people took action and made donations because of the work I was doing is the most inspiring and rewarding achievement for me. Being capable of inspiring another person to give, inspires me to continue my work.
Q: The Foundation Escalera is the organization that you are most passionate about. Can you share more information about that and give us an update?
CG: There are many organizations I am passionate about, Foundation Escalera is definitely on the top of my list. There goal is to improve the state of education in Mexico through various programs, including incentive-based learning initiatives, school building missions, and scholarship programs. Their mission is to improve education as a way to eliminate poverty. Due to some funding issues, the school building mission for this year is postponed, I am hoping to raise the funds to pay for half the school for next year. However, the scholarship programs and their work is still going strong. For the latest information, check out their blog: http://foundationescalera.wordpress.com
Q: Can you give us a personal account about an instance where you felt that your work had made a difference?
CG: I believe it was the second day of building of the school in Chiapas, it was right after lunch, I sat down on these cement steps and out of nowhere about 20 little boys came running and sat down next to me. They were looking up at me smiling and asking questions, so smart and full of life. It was then I knew that this school we built was important and would have a lasting impact on these kids’ lives.
Q: Your project has inspired a large following of people. What’s the whole message that you’d like your audience to take away from what you do?
CG: The biggest message is that anyone can be a philanthropist. Every gift you give is meaningful. Find the cause or organization that speaks to your heart and make giving a part of your life.