Where are all the young philanthropists?

This is a guest blog by Jasmine Wong, Vice-Chair of The WoodGreen Foundation’s Young Leaders Council. 

Leader, supporter and advocate are some of the ways I would describe myself, but the title of philanthropist holds such a heavy weight. 

What is a philanthropist anyways? It is defined as a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, especially with donations of money to good causes.  

Jasmine Wong

Jasmine Wong

My name is Jasmine Wong and I have been a Vice-Chair of the Young Leaders Council (YLC) for The WoodGreen Foundation since 2018. I have fundraised, organized events, promoted, and personally donated to many impactful events for WoodGreen. But I still don’t consider myself to be a philanthropist. I believe many others in my generation feel the same way, but it’s time for us to start owning it, and recognizing that we can make a difference in our city. 

In 2020, online giving increased at over 85 per cent year over year with the pandemic, but overall giving is still declining. Covid-19 impacted our community in devastating ways; which is why we need more philanthropists, now more than ever. 

The Power of WoodGreen’s Young Leaders Council 

The changing times call for new fresh faces into the world of philanthropy. As a part of the Young Leaders Council, it has given me the opportunity to be exposed to the 75+ programs of WoodGreen. We are a group of young professionals from different industries, backgrounds, and social circles that come together and activate our networks to shine a light on some of the most crucial social issues affecting the people of Toronto. 

WoodGreen Youth leaders Council event

A photo of a virtual Young Leaders Council event.

We are inviting young people to be more engaged in the solutions. Being part of this network of individuals gives me a strong sense of purpose and community to make changes in our city. I am so proud to be called a Difference Maker and have the chance to learn how we can do more to serve our community. Being part of a group of future leaders and young philanthropists is powerful. 

Youth Programs Offered by WoodGreen

When I moved to the east end of Toronto, I wanted to find out how I could get more involved in my own neighbourhood and community. As one of Toronto’s largest social services providers, I saw WoodGreen logos across the city on many buildings, from job employment agencies to affordable housing locations.  

What really resonates for me is how WoodGreen supports youth in so many ways with their barrier-free programming. 

Some of these programs include: 

  • Youth Wellness Centre a multiservice space to access key services including free mental health services and address the Social Determinants of Health
  • Youth @ Work – supports young people who are searching for a job and with skills development programs
  • Rites of Passage – supports young people of African descent in Toronto as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.  

WoodGreen’s youth programs have immeasurable impacts on the lives of young people, helping them to build supportive communities and achieve financial literacy and self-efficacy. 

Bringing Meaningful Philanthropy to a New Audience

To continue to run these programs and make an impact, I love that there is an easy way to give every month. A small monthly donation can be paid towards WoodGreen and ensures you are helping to create a better tomorrow for the youth of WoodGreen and other vulnerable members of our community. Even a small amount goes a long way. But how could we make this more appealing to young professionals?

The Young Leaders Council looked at the concept of Monthly Giving and we realized that this is a lot like a model that our age range knows well – online subscriptions, like those we have for film/tv, music, and even groceries. We re-imagined monthly giving at WoodGreen and it’s called “Subscribe for Good” – easy sign-up, a monthly charge, and you not only get to feel good about supporting, but you receive a monthly story of the impact of WoodGreen’s Difference Makers.

As a young professional, you can advocate for worthwhile social causes within our community. You can be a difference maker. You can be a philanthropist. One way to start is to Subscribe for Good.