Sunday, March 10, 2013

Friends who Philanth'rock' it!

I have known Cordy for about two years and her desire to help others is inspiring. Not only is she currently embarking on a new career (which is stressful AND courageous), she makes time to give back---and often. 

Name: Cordy Elkins
Age: 26
Career: Currently pursuing a degree as a personal trainer and working for Lululemon. 

Are you philanthropic? Why? 

Yes. absolutely.  I have lived an amazingly lucky and privileged life ~ I believe it is one of my main missions in life to help others who are less fortunate with time and resources.

What does philanthropy mean to you? 
Philanthropy to me is showing others you love and care for them through many avenues whether it be time, money, education, and other resources.  I like to be philanthropic in a variety of methods - I believe this gives more completely and in a balanced manner.  I try to give money, time, and any skills/knowledge I have that can further the goals and mission of organizations I believe in.  I hope that through my efforts I can make more people happier and healthier each day.

What organization(s) do you donate time and/or money to? 
My family runs The Julie Fund, which is a cancer fund focused on providing funding for education, research and every day expenses that challenge families with a member suffering from women's cancer.  We run a cancer walk and a gala dinner each year as well as many smaller publicity and fundraising events. (See the volunteer page to learn how to sign up for this year's walk!)
I am the Co-Chair of the Human Rights Campaign New England Gala Dinner for this year.  The HRC is the largest political action group focused on the rights for lesbians, gays, transgendereds, and transexuals.  Our gala dinner will host more than 800 people and raise more than 250K dollars.
I am on the Young Professionals Board of BELL - (Building Education Leaders for Life) - which runs summer and after school programs to increase time-on-task and accelerate academic achievement. 
I also participate in many other community service in lesser capacities - I participate in the Boston Homeless Census each year with my fabulous friend Renee!  I donate blood to the American Red Cross as often as I can.  I like to spend Saturday mornings volunteering at the Boston Food Bank when I can and serving dinner at local soup kitchens though I wish I got there more often.  I like to participate in community cleanups and environmental conservation.

How did you find these opportunities?
I found many of these just through talking with anyone and everyone that I meet and learning what inspires them - often the best way to find organizations that are doing great things is through the other people that believe in them!

Do you enjoy it? How would you improve your experience, if possible?
I often say to my friends and family that if I could spend the majority of my time working on these things that I would be so much happier - I am happiest when I am working in things that I am passionate about.  I hope that as I grow and find myself and a career that I love it will give me much more time to devote to these causes than I have had in the past few years!  I plan to really find more time to devote to helping others - I think I can I do this more as I become happier with myself and my career/life.  I believe making others happy can only really happen when you are happy yourself! (A lot like what they say about love!)

If you had a million dollars to donate, what organization(s) would you give to? International or domestic? Why?
My goodness a million would never be enough!  If I had 100 million dollars - or even better no limits - I would still have an impossible time deciding how to rank them others in importance.  I think I would first make sure my family's cancer fund was endowed to give at least one million dollars a year without having to touch the principle - you have to help what is closest to you first - what better place to start than in what my family has invested so much time and effort into!
Then I would focus on children. They are the future - but specifically beyond that I would have a very hard time choosing between environmental, social, health, and everything else.  There is so much in the world that could use some help - I think I would invest in others dreams too - start ups that are are doing amazing things so that I could touch so much more through others than I could touch just on my own!

Is there a philanthropist you admire?  
I need some more time on this one... but I am pretty sure that my Dad is still the person I admire the most - he is never too busy to help others - plain and simple he cares for others before himself while at the same time never allowing himself to not be in a healthy and happy place so that he can help others.