At C.A.R.E. Actor, we believe that arts education and community involvement are both essential parts of a child’s education. I just read this Washington Post profile of businessman and philanthropist Robert Smith, who is the second-largest private donor to the new Smithsonian Museum of African-American History. (Only Oprah Winfrey out-donated him.)
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An entrepreneur who believes in philanthropy and the arts
Robert Smith made his fortune in banking, finance, and the tech world. As chairman and C.E.O. of Vista Equity Partners, he’s noticed that high-tech employees who appreciate the arts perform better at their jobs. "I look for a complete package," the billionaire explains. "When someone is a complete package, they are more engaged, more excited, more passionate about what they are doing." He even sees direct comparisons between technology and art, saying, “A beautifully written software code is a lyrical concerto.”
Smith is passionate about building communities and supporting worthy causes. His Fund II Foundation champions African-American culture, music education, and the environment. Projects include partnering with Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, NPower’s career training for inner-city youth and veterans, and diversity initiatives at Cornell University. He is the first African-American chairman of Carnegie Hall.
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A world-minded book
We love David J. Smith’s If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People, because it shows kids (indirectly) why philanthropy and community building matter. It’s a good conversation-starter when encouraging kids to volunteer, donate, or raise money for a cause this holiday season.
The author explains, “This book is about ‘world-mindedness,’ which is an attitude, an approach to life. It is the sense that our planet is actually a village, and we share this small, precious village with our neighbors. Knowing who our neighbors are, where they live and how they live, will help us live in peace.”
Whether you’re helping people down the street or across the world, they are likely strangers to your kids. If the World Were a Village is a powerful reminder that there is no “other.” We are all one people. We are all in this together. And when we can, it’s great to help our neighbors!
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A few ways to volunteer
Looking for ways your family can give back to your community and/or your planet? Here are some links to help you find your cause:
“I could just live off my money,” Robert Smith told The Washington Post. “It might be a good life, though it wouldn’t be a fulfilled life.” We might not have billions, but we couldn’t agree more.