Thinking about the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" in the Season of Giving
“In less than 10 minutes, Will taught me what true giving is all about.”
Have you ever met someone who radiates love and respect for a fellow human being? I was fortunate enough to meet such a person — the “Fresh Prince” himself — Will Smith. What an amazing individual.
His humility was pleasantly surprising, considering how famous and celebrated he is around the world. After chatting with him for a short time, I felt inspired and moved by what he had to say and his outlook on giving back to the community. Thank you Will Smith for reminding me what grace and humanity is all about and setting the standard for how we should treat fellow human beings, big or small.
What is philanthropy?
According to the Webster dictionary, Philanthropy is “goodwill to fellow members of the human race." Relevant to today, Google says, Philanthropy is “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.”
Philanthropy has evolved tremendously over time. Now more than ever, the global focus is on improving one’s "quality of life" through active social participation. Although still seen as a significant financial contribution to a charity of choice, philanthropy can also encompass valuable time and resources.
Each year, more people and organizations are participating in Giving Tuesday — a day following Black Friday and Cyber Monday where individuals and organizations around the world are encouraged to take a break from materialistic consumption and set their sights on giving back to the community. Beyond that, social impact, charitable causes and a greater sense of responsibility to people and planet are at the forefront of our minds. This is especially true now as we move towards the holidays and the season of giving.
Stock donation is a creative option for pubco philanthropists.
“The holidays give me pause and a chance to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. As a public company CEO, I found the ability to make donations with my stock an incredible opportunity to help a charity near and dear to my heart. This is why I chose to donate 50,000 shares of Blue Lagoon Resources to Royal Columbian Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals in the country.”
Donations do not always have to be in the form of money. For public companies and their insiders, an alternative is to provide stock options or personally owned stock. This method has many benefits for both the donor and the recipient.
According to a report by Interac Corp. in partnership with The Upside Foundation, Canadians are more likely to purchase from companies that are supporting community charities. This is a great reason for all Canadian CEOs to jump on this opportunity to support organizations and give back.
Giving away shares or issuing options invests the responsibility of maintaining the benefits and growth to the recipient rather than relying on an instant, one-time donation. The beauty of such a method is that it is impactful for the receiver, has room to grow, and in time, can far exceed the initial one-time donation you would have made.
Recently I was inspired by Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini when I saw that his new public company assigned 190,000 stock options at $0.10 to his charity of choice. That stock today is worth considerably more to the charity and is likely to grow further. This is what I mean when I say that donating stock can provide more for organizations in the long run — a practice that I believe we should all encourage.
Although we're just getting started, I’m very pleased to donate the first of my free trading Blue Lagoon shares to the Royal Columbian Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals in British Columbia, and hope that other CEOs will consider the same for some of their holdings and gift them to the charities that they support.
This holiday season I invite you to join me (and Will Smith!) in sharing our good fortune by giving back to your community. Find out how good it feels to give, in whatever way you can.