In today’s brief question and answer session we speak with Care for Life board member Stephen Edward Samuelian to discuss the idea of philanthropy.
Interviews and News: Thank you for joining us today.
Stephen Edward Samuelian: I’m happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Interviews and News: To give our readers background, can you tell us a little about your involvement with charitable organizations?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Certainly! There are several that I work with. The most near and dear to my heart are Rising Stars Outreach and Care for Life.
Interviews and News: What types of charities are these?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: They are both international programs that serve underprivileged citizens in India and Mozambique, Africa, respectively.
Interviews and News: What do you consider to be the definition of philanthropy?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Philanthropy is essentially giving on a large scale. This could be giving of oneself or donating assets such as money or real estate.
Interviews and News: What types of people typically participate in philanthropic endeavors?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: I’ve found there is really no one specific type of person. Some philanthropists are extremely wealthy. Others, for example Mother Teresa, have no money but an ability to make a difference in the world.
Interviews and News: Can you name a famous modern philanthropist?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: In the news recently is Ben Carson. He just announced his bid for the next US presidency. Carson is a Johns Hopkins graduate and one of the world’s most distinguished neurosurgeons.
Interviews and News: He has a scholarship fund, right?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Yes, he and wife Candy founded the Carson Scholarship Fund in 1994. This offers students some financial relief and helps to promote a love of reading in young children.
Interviews and News: Why was the scholarship fund so important to him?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Carson grew up in a single-family household and suffered from crippling poverty. This fund, it seems, was set up so that he could take his position in life and help ease struggle of others.
Interviews and News: Is philanthropy done anonymously?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: In our society, many people believe that true acts of kindness should be done without drawing attention to oneself.
Interviews and News: Is that true?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Some argue that public displays of charity work can be used to encourage others and therefore are more beneficial than those that never get recognized. I don’t think there is a right way to give as long as it’s done responsibly.
Interviews and News: What do you mean by “responsibly?”
Stephen Edward Samuelian: To give responsibly means to ensure that your gifts are doing the most good. In other words, to make sure that your money is being put to good use and that it is not instigating a cycle of dependency.
Interviews and News: So that people do not become reliant on charity?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: Absolutely. I believe that empowering people to achieve their goals is a far better use of resources than trying to patch a problem with money
Interviews and News: Are there any resources to help guide philanthropist on exactly how to distribute his or her assets?
Stephen Edward Samuelian: There is the National Philanthropic Trust. It is a public charity that offers expertise to help ensure that donor aspirations are realized.
Interviews and News: Thank you so much for these insights. It looks like we’re out of time. We do appreciate your joining us today.
Stephen Edward Samuelian: It’s been my pleasure.