Philanthropy, Fundraising, & Community Outreach

Category: Community Builder

Trevor Marca is committed to having a positive impact on the community through volunteering and philanthropic programs. Trevor is a firm believe in supporting local businesses as a means to increase the overall health of the community.

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Mandatory Kindness: Should Community Service Be Required?

Should kindness be mandatory? Parents, administrators, and schoolchildren are split over the question of required community service. Many middle- and high schools set a quota of hours per year, and expect their students to deliver. But the question remains: does mandating community engagement improve youth development? Or is it simply another marsh to slog through on the path to graduation, without any real long-term benefit for the student “volunteer?”


Interestingly, Maryland is the only state to require its schools to incorporate service learning into their required curricula, rather than allowing institutions to determine such requirements themselves. Schools outside the state, however, have the option of limiting service requirements – or cancelling them altogether.


Administrators opposed to mandatory service requirements argue that once volunteering is required, it is no longer volunteering. Because they aren’t self-motivated to complete their work in the community, students don’t develop their understanding of civic values or truly engage with those they help. The work becomes, as Sarah E. Helms writes in her study on service learning, “homework for school.” Indeed, Helms goes on to suggest that though required service may boost engagement in middle schoolers, older high school students are actually less likely to volunteer.


In short: requiring service leads to lower rates of engagement in the long term.


Additionally, some administrators shy away from requiring community service because they worry about the burden the time commitment places on the students. This is a particular concern for districts that face high rates of poverty. As William R. Bolton, superintendent of the Copiague district in New York, commented in a NY Times article: Many of our children work to make money because a lot of them are supporting themselves […] We are a 50 percent poverty district and 60 percent minority.” In cases such as Bolton’s, hours of required service would be an unacceptable strain on a student’s free time once added to work and study commitments.


Suffice to say, community service isn’t the shoo-in policy it might appear to be at first. However, the fact that student service aids youth development is unquestionable. Other studies conducted on the effects of Maryland’s service requirement have found that “students who volunteer more frequently tend to be higher-achieving, more engaged in their communities, and less prone to risky behaviors as adolescents. Moreover, service learning in particular has been found to improve students’ engagement in school and reduce their risk of dropping out.”


There’s no doubt about it – community service has a positive effect on those who volunteer consistently. And unfortunately for those who would reject service requirements outright, the question of student volunteerism needs to be considered. When surveyed, even frequent student volunteers admitted that they would never have volunteered initially if they hadn’t been required to do so.


So the question becomes: How can schools encourage students to volunteer without losing the positive, self-motivated aspect of volunteerism or infringing on needed free time? The answer most likely lies with how the requirements are implemented.


Ideally, quality volunteer opportunities would be integrated into a student’s academic curricula. As Janet Delaney, head of San Diego City School’s Partnerships in Education program is quoted by the School Superintendents Association, “[Community service] brings learning alive. It makes it real […] One of the things public education has struggled with forever is finding real-life context. That’s what service learning does.” Moreover, Delaney reports that service learning not only engages students in their communities, but boosts their attendance and performance rates at school.


It’s simple: we need quality community service programs in our schools. It isn’t enough to mandate a number of service hours, or simply talk about the value of community engagement – real work has to be put into making service an educational experience for students. If built with care, these programs could kickstart some real, positive change for students as learners and community members.

Trevor Marca: Trends in Social Entrepreneurship

Trends in Social Entrepreneurship

While a large percentage of companies have participated in philanthropy over the years and individual entrepreneurs have attempted to make a positive impact with their work, the concept of social entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular in recent years. The Skoll Foundation recently conducted a survey of social entrepreneurship trends. This post looks at the survey’s findings.

Climate Change

The threat of climate change becomes more and more obvious with each passing year. Climate change has ramifications for many social entrepreneurs. While some entrepreneurs work directly to combat climate change, others have no choice but to deal with the results of a changing world. Some question whether the Paris Climate Agreement will have a significant impact, especially with the Trump administration’s attitude toward climate change. Yet others view the increased awareness of climate change as a small victory.


Many entrepreneurs worry about the future of the world’s youth. Last year the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that youth unemployment was rising throughout the world. Youth who grow up with less opportunity than previous generations contribute to political instability and increased poverty. On the other hand, many observers realize that today’s youth are generally more educated than their parents—a fact that will contribute to their success later in life.


Nationalist movements seem to be gaining popularity worldwide, especially in Europe. The movements are a response to issues such as unemployment and feelings of exclusion from society. Leaders of nationalist movements often use language designed to divide “others” from the ingroup. Entrepreneurs worry about how these movements will impact their work.


Many social entrepreneurs are concerned about the impact that technology will have on their work. Some entrepreneurs embrace technology and the possibilities it has to positively affect the world. Yet others are concerned with there being a lack of digital literacy especially in relation to data. Plus, privacy is always a concern when it comes to online data.


The European refugee crisis is a topic of concern for many social entrepreneurs. This issue also relates to climate change since migration will increase as more location become uninhabitable. Refugees and migrants are at greater risk of radicalization and face a number of safety issues. Respondents believe that more work needs to be done to integrate refugees and migrants into larger society.


Several social entrepreneurs are focused on reducing the amount of inequality in the world. Although inequality has always existed, the divide between rich and poor has widened in recent years. Entrepreneurs are paying particular attention to the Global South’s access to financial services and how policy decisions affect the world’s poorest.

Trevor Marca: 5 Ways Your Business Can Contribute to the Community

5 Ways Your Business Can Contribute to the Community

If you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur and you want to give back to your community, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not that difficult. There are a number of benefits for businesses that help the community.  Giving back reflects positively on the business, builds better relationships between you and your customers, and helps advertise your services. Keep reading to learn about 5 different ways you can help your community.

Support a Charity

Donating to charity is one of the easiest ways to give back to the community. Not only will a donation campaign help raise awareness for your brand, you will also have a positive impact. There are many different ways that you can raise funds for charity. Some businesses donate the profits from a particular item to charity. You can also organize a fundraising event like a 5K race, or you can let employees participate in a “dress-down” day in exchange for a small donation. In some cases, it may be a good idea to team up with another local business and participate in some sort of competition to raise money for charities.

Go Green

Saving energy is a great way to help the environment and support the community. The last thing that any business should do is add unnecessary waste to the community where it resides. In most cases, green initiatives save money in the long term. Green initiatives also show community members that you care about how you conduct business—an attractive quality to potential customers. One of the easiest ways to go green is to recycle and use environmentally-friendly light bulbs. You can also consider installing solar panels on the roof of your building. Green initiatives are great for the community, and they may even save you money on taxes. Take a look at this article to learn more about the benefits of going green.

Pro Bono Services

One of the best ways to support the community is to give away your services for free. You can either donate the goods you sell, or you can provide your services free-of-charge to community members who are in need. The community will thank you for your generosity, and your business will gain respect.

Free Training

Get to know your community members by hosting a training event. For example, if you are involved in technology, you can teach people how to use computers. You don’t always have to look outside of your business to help the community. By offering your employees training opportunities, you benefit the community. Community members will understand that your business cares about the growth of its employees and customers will be happy to support you.


Sprucing up the landscape of your business is one of the easiest ways to benefit the community. By planting a few trees and flowers you will also contribute to employee happiness. Numerous studies show that time spent outside contributes to a person’s well-being. Give your employees an area where they can take a break and enjoy nature. You’ll make the community look prettier and your employees will be happier.

Trevor Marca: 4 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

4 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Good habits make great entrepreneurs. This is true whether your work focuses on social entrepreneurship or not. Oftentimes, finding success as an entrepreneur is just a matter of finding the right habits and sticking with them. At the very least, when you eliminate bad habits you gain more time and a clearer perspective on how to reach your goals. Keep reading to learn about some of the best habits that every entrepreneur should have.

Get Up Early

One of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous sayings is “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” The saying is more than just a cute rhyme. Waking up early gives you a jumpstart on the day’s activities. Some people choose to get up early so that they can workout and feel energized for the day. You can also get up early to work on any number of projects that you’ve been meaning to tackle. If you’re not a morning person start by getting up 10 minutes earlier each day for one week. Then get up 20 minutes earlier during the second week. You’ll eventually be able to get up an hour before you usually do.

Express Gratitude

Attitude is everything. If you only focus on the setbacks and roadblocks you encounter, you’ll make it difficult to find success. On the other hand, if you remain grateful for the positive things you have in life—not just career-related things but friends and family—you’ll feel a lot more satisfied and happy. A grateful attitude ensures that you don’t take anything for granted, and it’s one of the first steps of adopting an optimistic attitude. Read this article to learn more about how feeling grateful can lead to success.


Smiling is one of the simplest habits you can pick up, and it’s also one of the most beneficial. Did you know that people who smile tend to be happier? While that might seem obvious, you can begin to feel happier just by making a conscious effort to smile. Body language often dictates how we feel. If you sit slouched over and frown for the majority of the day, then there’s a good chance that you won’t feel too happy. Your mind takes its cue from your body language. Yet it’s difficult to feel down when you adopt a power pose and smile. Make the effort to smile more, and you’ll quickly feel the benefits.


Exercise is one of the best habits that you can incorporate into your daily routine. There are a number of benefits to exercise including better sleep, improved mood, and more energy. You don’t have to workout every day to see results. Three days per week is a good routine to aim for. Being an entrepreneur is a demanding job. Physical activity will help ensure that you stay healthy and your mind stays clear.

Trevor Marca: 5 Ways That Small Businesses Help The Community

5 Ways That Small Businesses Help The Community

Small businesses are one of the most important aspects of every community. Not only do small businesses “account for 99.7% of all business in the US,” they are also leaders in giving back to the community through charity (Schmid). In fact, a survey conducted last year found that “92 percent of U.S. small business owners… [surveyed] said they personally donate to charities and nonprofit organizations” (Hernandez). To learn more about how small businesses help the community, take a look below.

Local Identity

Small businesses give a community its unique identity. Art galleries, bookstores, cafes, yoga studios, and corner grocery stores add character to the communities that they call home. Many towns are proud of the number of local businesses that inhabit their community. In an effort to attract visitors, local tourism boards often advertise the number of local businesses as a sign of community health.

Community Involvement

The above statistic makes it clear that small business owners want to give back to the communities they live in. Many small businesses sponsor local sports teams or donate money to local charities around the holidays. Since small business owners usually live in the communities where they work, they care about their neighbors. In general, they don’t make decisions that will negatively affect other community members.

Build Relationships

Small businesses benefit from customer relationships. When you visit a local business, it’s very likely that you will meet the owner. Oftentimes, owners make an effort to get to know their customers, learn their names, and remember their preferences. Small businesses don’t have all of the advantages that big businesses have, so they care about providing great customer service and establishing lasting relationships with their customers.

Help the Environment

When numerous small businesses are located in one area, foot traffic is increased and people don’t have to rely on their automobiles as much. This contributes to better air quality. Today consumers are increasingly concerned about the health of the environment. They also care about walkability. Since small businesses tend to be located close to one another, this helps increase a community’s walkability and attract health-conscious residents.

Local Employment

Small businesses provide jobs to community members. When someone can get a job in the area where they live, they don’t have to commute to another city, and they may even be able to walk to work each day. Also, when community members shop at local businesses, they help put money in the pockets of their neighbors behind the counter.

Trevor Marca: 4 Ways Your Business Can Go Green

4 Ways Your Business Can Go Green

Each year more and more businesses are adopting green practices. There are numerous benefits for businesses who implement environmentally friendly practices, such as tax advantages and saving money, and positive public response. Below are four different ways your business can go green and make a positive impact.


Recycling is crucial in today’s society. It’s important to recycle items such as paper and plastic because the practice adds less waste to landfills. It’s easy for a business to get started with recycling. It’s as simple as setting up recycling cans throughout the organization. Businesses can also get creative with their recycling process. For example, instead of throwing away used and old furniture, businesses can have a contest where employees revamp the furniture for different uses.

Lower Utility Costs

Using LED or CFL light bulbs use less energy and can last up to 20 years. At the same time, they lower your energy bill. Unplugging devices when they’re not in use is also a great way to reduce energy. It may be a good idea for your business to get an energy audit done. An energy audit will help your business develop an energy-efficient plan that is sustainable for the environment.

Implement A Green Space

Landscaping is a fun and great way for your workplace to create a positive impact on the environment. Creating a garden full of plants or even a vegetable garden outside of your building will grab the attention of outsiders and make your employees happier. Studies show that spending time in nature makes people happier. Why not bring nature into the workplace by adding plants to the office space?

Stay Clean With Green

Many offices use harsh chemical cleaners that are toxic to the environment. A great way to make an impact is to buy biodegradable or non-toxic chemicals for use in your office. They only cost about 5% more than regular cleaners but do a lot less harm. Offices can also consider using recyclable kitchen items such as silverware, ceramic plates, and coffee mugs/glasses. Americans throw away over 25 billion styrofoam cups and 2.5 million plastic cups every year. Coffee pods, such as a k-cups create an enormous amount of landfill waste. Using an old-fashioned coffee pot is one of the easiest ways to keep businesses sustainable.


Welcome to Trevor Marca’s Community Builder Blog. Please stay tuned for more updates!

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