STAGE 6Making It Meaningful

Members of Tiger 21 are achieving amazing things in the world of philanthropy—but not all of them, to be honest. Some find discussions about philanthropy to be off-putting. They argue, in effect, “I’ve given at the office,” meaning that they’ve created lots of jobs or paid lots of taxes and so helped strengthen their communities. To be sure, creating jobs and being a good corporate citizen is important. But is it enough?

Most of our members would think not. And thanks to the power of their peers, they’re often changing minds. Here’s how Charlie Garcia describes the dynamic: “For the first time in their careers, members are surrounded by peers who are just as wealthy as they are (or more so), who tell them the truth. ‘What are you doing? You’re worth more money than you could ever spend, and you’re still working 21-hour days and have three kids you don’t really even know? Pat yourself on the back: you made it. Now start focusing on something that is going to bring you fulfillment.’”

More often than not, after the big liquidity event, entrepreneurs start to rebuild family ties that had been frayed while they were single-mindedly focused on building their business. Next, they start to think about the causes they wish they’d had time and capital to support during the years they were a bit absent. I’ve often observed that when an entrepreneur does commit to donating money and time to an issue, cause, or institution they care about, they wish that they’d ...

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