“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”
– Winston S. Churchill
My name is Abi Feseha. As a young professional who has been exposed to the social and economic need of developing nations, I want to shape my life and career in ways that make a difference. I work as a business analyst in the healthcare industry and am in my first year of an MBA program at University of Maryland RH Smith School of Business. I am also an active volunteer consultant and an Associate Board member of DC Social Innovation Project (DCSIP). People always ask me how I manage to do so much, and to be honest, though I love my professional and educational career, I know I’m making a life worth living by what I give to DCSIP. It keeps me going when times get tough and has helped me experience the value of service that runs deep in my family. This is my story about why I choose to give fully and why I hope that today, on Giving Tuesday, you’ll step up to join me and give differently.
I Give With My Heart: Connecting with DCSIP’s mission and grantees allows me to make real connections with real people who are trying to solve some of the stickiest problems in DC. From entrepreneurs of new business incubators to leaders of mentoring programs that connect essential health care services to communities in need, my DCSIP pro-bono experiences have introduced me to powerful champions who are transforming communities from the inside out. They have helped me connect with the broader DC community and my heart in ways I never expected.
I Give With My Head: By channeling the expertise that I have built up in my professional life, my volunteer pro-bono consulting improves the success rate of new social ventures in an environment when so many new businesses fail. For new ventures that are bootstrapped at the offset, my pro-bono contribution provides an amazing amount of capacity to organizations operating on a dime. At DCSIP, our unique value is that we give grants and we provide pro-bono expertise valued at seven times our grant amount. That’s a huge amount of intellectual capital that wouldn’t be possible without our pro-bono model and my volunteer service.
I Give With My Pocket: I practice philanthropy every month by making, celebrating, and encouraging others to give a financial gift. You don’t have to be rich to join DCSIP’s giving circle – for only 3 coffees a month you can be part of a movement to empower DC’s communities with creativity, courage, and ideas. Our Community Investor Circle has enabled me to support DCSIP in all its work to give even more support to start-ups and promising programs. Giving financially means that we can spread this model across the District of Columbia where there is so much need and even farther.
In a world where we are told that the Millennial generation is self-absorbed and entitled, practicing philanthropy so deeply is one of the most satisfying experiences I have to give and live a purpose-driven life. Please join with me on Giving Tuesday to become a Community Investor.