If I had a million dollars, I’d spend it on...
investing in long term impact.
I will set up an endowment fund.
One of the first thing I want to do will be for Yayasan Chow Kit, a foundation whom I’ve collaborated with for 6 years (2018).
All thanks to this partnership, I’m able to drive my Tuesday Art program by involving kind hearted artists to mentor selected groups of stateless children under the foundation’s shelter. They produce pop up Christmas cards that I curate for future show while some cards I sell to corporates.
My Tuesday Art program is self-sustainable since Year 1 and it allows me to remunerate the mentors as well as the children. This mechanism in turn inspires me in my professional life - while my appetite grows to become the magical rainmaker. It is a critical blessing that we can engage the children with creativity during their crucial years. I still have not quite implemented - to teach them cash flow management - 6 years and still a work-in-progress! However I’m happy that the foundation has some new programs in place to train the children to be productive and enterprising (2017).
I’ve always been studying ways to abolish poverty and discontinue the hand-to-mouth existence - something I’m so familiar with since I became a full time artist. In my Tuesday Art program, the young artists who earns the most are often advised to invest in their own sets of colour pencils and quality paper so they can bankroll themselves to create more work to gain earning advantage/advancements.
Designing social programs has been a hobby since over a decade ago, it got more serious after I lost my life partner to his cocaine habit. Tuesday Art is not my only baby.
Over the years, my calling grew stronger as I get more exposed to harrowing cases of abused and marginalised children with the worst stories. There are many warriors in Yayasan Chow Kit working 24-7 to protect (mostly stateless) children, fighting the system to improve legislation and much more. The way I aspire to make an impact is to first make sure the hardworking staff (like my dear friend COO Ananti Raj) are remunerated well and enjoy annual bonuses. People like her need real salaries to match the corporate career that she sacrificed in order to clean up our messy world. Social workers are usually paid pittance but they are worth the highest in human decency, compare that to any asshole in a world only concerned about financial bottom lines.
Social workers deserve higher pay. Their job is real and very important. Most times, the only reward is when they successfully solve a case. Their fight is never ending and they face high risks of being burned out everyday of the year. It is not because they cannot find ‘real jobs’ but they are highly capable and resourceful people choosing to serve others. Patting them on the back, giving them awards or recognition is not the most practical thing. It’s farce. I feel the civic duty to share a part of my earnings with the special folks who solve humanity for a living. This is my idea of impact philanthropy.
(For instance, the first way to support an artist is to buy art and directly contribute.)
One million dollars endowment is a good place for me to start learning on the go. I would like the endowment to eventually grow to USD$30m so I can cover more causes and retire a very busy lady.
Meantime before I get there..
For 2018, I’m going to experiment with a collaboration that will help counsel, integrate and create job placements for the disabled community. I don’t need one million dollars to make this happen, just some meetings to connect the powerful dots that can help me distribute opportunities. God blessed me with access, mental faculties and numerous education to tackle social problems. I’m a seasoned troubleshooter and have been making an impact without needing to be someone filthy rich.
I hope my filthy rich friends reading this will think about making impact that correlates to the scale of their wealth.
May 2018 be the year I make at least one million dollars.