I believe very strongly in giving back to society in any way I can. I have arrived at this current point in my life where I have a loving family, a great education and a successful business and career (which is providing me with a financially secure well-being) because I have benefited from other people and organisations who have given me opportunities thanks to their own commitments to philanthropy.
These people, organisations and opportunities have come in various shapes and sizes but nonetheless they have all helped shaped the person that I am today.
And so quite simply I have made a conscious decision to lead a life that has a balance between looking after Number 1 and looking after the community.
As soon as I was able to do so I began to get involved with sporting teams in a coaching role (age 15) and then as soon as I obtained the pre-requisite professional qualifications I began to act as treasurer of my soccer club (age 25). In between these periods I was always volunteering my time to numerous projects and people if they needed a hand.
This voluntary work exposed me to the concept of giving with no expectation of financial reward, but I could expect an inner personal satisfaction being obtained in having helped out. I quickly learned or came to realise that whilst I never did these things for any want of public recognition or even a thank you, the thanks and gratification began to flow from the various people and organisations that I was assisting. It is also a fantastic personal development opportunity to surround yourself with other positive like minded people who want to make a difference in the community.
This triggered something inside of me that made me realise that my time and skills could actually start to make a difference in people’s lives either directly or indirectly through an organisation they may be associated with. And this made me feel really great. Really Great that I could utilise the professional and life skills I had obtained in life (thanks to many community minded individuals and organisations) as well as the money I had earned from applying these skills in my business for the benefit of others in much the same fashion that I had benefited from in my early years.
As I have grown as a person I have come to see various parts of society that can benefit in a greater fashion from my community focus and so whereas in the past I have spread my time across many organisations I now focus my time specifically in two areas.
One is a commitment to my football club (Redbacks FC) so that the football stars of tomorrow can experience the joy I did when I started playing some 30 years ago. As the club treasurer and member of the executive committee I have been directly involved in setting the direction of the club and in the running of the club since 2006. I was recognised in Sep 2013 for this commitment to the club when I was made a Life Member (the club’s 37th) which was very humbling.
The second is a commitment to children’s health and assisting with not only raising funds for much-needed specialist medical equipment but also by raising funds to enable preventative measures to be put in place to protect our children, because our kids are our future. I joined the board of Kids West in April 2013 after 3 years as the external accountant as I knew that my skills could assist the organisation to continue the fantastic work it has done since 1991.As an active board member I am now constantly looking at ways to assist those children and organisations that need help the most.
I also joined the board of Kids West so that I could work directly alongside a person I respect very much who has devoted his life to assisting others. Trevor Oldfield is his name and he is the Co-Founder of Kids West and is a Life Member and past Chairperson and now is the CEO. He has been recognised for this commitment being made a “Member of the Order of Australia” (AM) in 2006 as well as being made a “Knight in the Order of St John” (KSJ) in 2013
In 2020 I was appointed to the Board of Directors of Northholm Grammar School, the school my children attend. A new challenge and a new opportunity to use my experience for a community that can benefit from it.
I still give freely of my time to a number of smaller organisations as I know that the time that I give is very valuable to them. In August 2014 I was awarded a Special Service Award for Good Service to Scouts Australia by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), having been the honourary auditor of the Eastwood Marsfield Region since May 2004.
I am also a Justice of the Peace in NSW.
Living a life that involves a commitment to giving back provides me with a great sense of personal achievement and is something that I will always do.
Born & bred Sydney guy with a passion for business, numbers, technology & fast cars!
One thought on “Philanthropist”
James, I had no idea how generous you are with your time & skills, nor any knowledge of your personal views on philanthropy. You are a credit to your mum & family. I hope you & Jade can inspire Georgia & Harrison to embrace life the way you both have. May they grow up to share your values. Cheers, Uncle Paul.
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