When you hear the term philanthropist, you often think of an ultra-wealthy, retired businessman who is writing seven-figure checks to several charities. But philanthropy isn’t just for the rich or even adults. The act of charity doesn’t discriminate between how much money someone has or how old they are. All you need is your time – even if it’s a mere five minutes.
Instilling the spirit of philanthropy in children from a young age actually provides major benefits for kids in addition to the act of giving back. Children are able to learn valuable life skills such as empathy, communication, time management, goal setting, and the ability to see the world outside of themselves. Once you instill charity into children from a young age, they often integrate this into a part of their lives as adults leading them to become lifelong philanthropists.
Sid Jawahar is a firm believer in teaching children to give back, as that is what led him to become an avid and life-long philanthropist. Jawahar’s parents were active philanthropists leaving a very profound impact on him as a kid. At the time when Jawahar was growing up in India, polio was rampant. “I remember days when my parents would take my sister and me to polio camps to actually feed the kids polio drops. That really stuck with me and has always reminded me of the fact that there’s no age at which you have to start giving of your time or your fortune. And if you have one, great. If you have both- even better,” he shared. “And I know that we all have at least some time to spare to uplift humanity. So to me, if I had one legacy to leave behind when it’s all said and done, it would be to get more people motivated, inspired, and encouraged to give earlier and not think of it as a wealthy person’s obligation but more so that we all carry in our heart and our mind, the duty to uplift people and humanity.”
Jawhar is now a venture capitalist that is focused on several key philanthropic areas, which range from developing educational and after-school programs in challenging neighborhoods to help integrate art and science learning in inner cities. The scope of programs currently includes outdoor learning initiatives, intensive summer programs, and promoting the arts and sciences in low-income communities in several cities across the country.
Amongst his active involvement in several non-profit organizations, he served on the Board of Directors for the Andy Roddick Foundation for four years, which specializes in summer learning and after-school programs. “I credit my parents for giving me the gift of charitability. That gift has carried through my adult life in which I’ve been lucky to be involved with the Just Living Foundation, Andy Roddick Foundation, American Heart Association, The Kindness Campaign, Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation, CureHD (Huntington’s Disease) and the American Telehealth Association to name a few.”
In the future, Jawhar hopes to start his own foundation focusing on improving women’s health and organizations focusing on cures such as diabetes, minority empowerment, and inner-city education. His simple advice to parents: start small. Starting simple things like donating to a food drive or volunteering at a children’s hospital can be wonderful introductory ways to help children understand what it means to give back.