In addition to family and friends, my main areas of focus are Sports, Education, Diversity and Philanthropy. For that last item mentioned, Philanthropy, I can also add Mentoring, Community Service, Non-profits, etc. In essence, it’s about “helping others” and “giving back.”
Washington, DC is a wonderful city that is full of terrific philanthropists and organizations. I’m blessed to have two outstanding mentors, Ted Leonsis and Mario Morino, that have showed me the way over the past 10+ years. Mario is the co-founder of Venture Philanthropy Partners, one of the most important and effective organizations in the country. He is a true thought leader in this space. Ted has had a deep and profound impact in the DC community, including his commitments to Best Buddies, E-Buddies, Hoop Dreams Scholarship Foundation, Wounded Warriors and many other organizations.
There are also so many other people that have contributed mightily, including Jean and Steve Case, Raul Fernandez, Jack Davies, Russ Ramsey, Tien Wong, etc. This list goes on and on. I’ve learned much from these leaders — and I try to do my best to pass on their best practices to the next generation — whether it’s to the nine non-profits I’m associated with as well as the hundreds of Georgetown University students that I teach, mentor and advise every year.
Then, of course, there are the executive directors, board members, staff members and volunteers of the many terrific non-profit organizations in this city. I am officially affiliated with nine organizations — as a member of the board of directors, advisory board or emeritus role — but I actually work with up to 15 non-profits. The ones I’m working with or have worked with over the past decade include Asian-American LEAD, Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund, NFTE, Super Leaders, DC Batter Up / RBI, Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholar Fund, United for DC, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Giving Back Fund and the Capitol Movement Project. I’ve also worked and / or supported Year Up!, POSSE Foundation, Venture Philanthropy Partners, etc.
In addition, I’ve been mentoring one young gentleman from DC for the past decade and have paid for much of his college tuition and I have promised the parents of my two teen-age mentees that I’ll pay for their college education. So, I’m trying not just to “talk the talk,” but also to “walk the walk.” And, as I’ve told Ted and Mario many times, the best way I can pay them back for teaching me the importance of philanthropy and mentoring is by “paying it forward,” re showing the next generation why it’s important to get involved to help others.
Washington, DC is rich and full of great philanthropic leaders and organizations. And, because of this dedication by so many of its citizens, the greater Washington, DC area is a much better place to live and work.