Being a young social entrepreneur, I have quickly come to understand the value of money. Sure, wealth generally means opulence: lifestyles of luxury and excess. But on the occasions when somewhere in our universe a wealthy individual or a group chooses to discover the value of funding as a vehicle for impact, I have seen just how incredible the right, just allocation of resources can be.
In the last two weeks, I traveled to Los Angeles and there witnessed extreme affluence in different settings. More interesting than the beach clubs, Louboutin heels and Del Mar horse races were the possibilities I imagined if just some of that wealth could have funded the incredible people and organizations I encountered.
While in Los Angeles, I attended the Do Something Awards, an awards show that honors young people 25 and under who are rocking social causes. For two years, I have been a member of the Do Something Youth Advisory Council, so I was ecstatic to support my friend and fellow YAC member Sarah Cronk as she and her organization, The Sparkle Effect, won $100,000. The Do Something Awards honors celebrities who do social good, too. One celebrity presenter was Kim Kardashian, who was also a nominee for celebrities using Twitter for good. While I applaud Kim for her willingness to promote Do Something and support its young award winners, I cannot help but notice a stark contrast. At stage left, five of the most inspirational, selfless and dedicated young people of my generation graciously received a modest $10,000 that would power their organizations' programming. At stage right, Kim stood just hours away from a reported $29-million wedding extravaganza. I do not want to bash Kim or negate her charitable actions. Instead, I want to think about what a $1-million wedding (still a large budget) and a $28-million contribution to some of our world's most dire causes, talented young change agents and diligent organizations could look like.