Venti Questions: Jeannine Errico

As a syndicate for philanthropic entrepreneurs, movers, shakers & changemakers, Volatile continues “Venti Questions” to highlight those in the community that are making waves & getting work done. Jeannine Errico, partner in The Makers Festival & The MakeShift Union, graciously accepted our invitation to share her version of philanthropy.

1. What does philanthropy mean to you?
Using available resources to help others without expecting anything in return.

2. What inspired you to make a difference?
Our incredible community.

3. Do you feel a personal responsibility to help others?
Yes, very much so. I don’t always act on that feeling but I’m getting a better. I think we all have to be good to ourselves in order to be good to others so it’s a process.

4. What is the source of your passion?
Empathy. Love. Compassion. Pain.

The MakeShift Union by Jesse Tomasello

5. What impact would you like to make in the community?
If I can inspire just one person to go outside of their comfort zone to help others then that’s good enough for me.

6. How long have you been doing this?
Sporadically throughout my life. It’s a process but the older I get the more value I see in helping others.

7. Is there/what is the ripple effect?
Yes. Positivity begets positivity. Sometimes this is obvious and sometimes the results are subtle and hard to quantify. Either way there is definitely a ripple effect.

8. What are your goals and values?
My goal is to identify a problem and then see how my actions could help alleviate that problem, even if it’s just slightly. In order to accomplish this, I try very hard to empathize with people to avoid judging them. Again, this is a process. It’s easier to judge than to see life from a very different perspective. If I could pass along just one value to someone else it would be empathy. I believe this is the root to all charitable endeavors and arguably the one thing that all philanthropists have in common.

9. How do your goals and values reflect what you are doing to give back and make a difference?
I try to pay attention to the people around me. It’s easy for me to tune things out but I have to make an effort and offer my help when I can. I can’t shave my head to raise money for a cancer foundation every day but I can donate clothing, or give a compliment or offer advice more readily. Sometimes, I can offer my time and sometimes I can offer my money. Giving back isn’t black and white, it’s pretty fluid and changes depending on the situation.

10. What exactly is your end goal and how do you plan on accomplishing this?
My end goal is to be a gazillionaire with the most astute sense of empathy that I can anticipate and react to the entire world’s needs at any given moment. Until then, I can just try to be a better version of myself a little bit every day.

11. If someone would like to contribute a donation or lend a hand in this process, how can they do so?
Right now people can donate to the Shave the Date hosted by Swing Graphics to benefit David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation.

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12. Are you involved in any community partnerships or collaborations?
I’m a part of The MakeShift Union and we put on events that help to donate back to the community. Some of the proceeds from The Makers Festival, for example, are donated to The Jetty Rock Foundation and The Stafford Historical Society and provide scholarships benefiting art students at Southern Regional High School and Pinelands High School. I’m also an Ambassador for the Shave the Date event previously mentioned. The majority of ambassadors raise money throughout the month of November by growing out their beards and then ceremoniously shaving it off at the conclusion of the fundraiser. I’m sure I could try and grow a beard (I’m very Italian) but, instead, I’ll shave my head. I’m hoping people will feel a connection to what I’m doing and feel compelled to donate.

See Jeannine’s Shave the Date Ambassador page & make a pledge to benefit DDBCF!

13. How do your collaborations coincide with your end goal?
They’re all about identifying a need and doing what we can to give back.

14. Why do you believe what you’re doing is unique, in comparison to anyone else?
I don’t feel unique in giving – our community has that covered and I’m so proud to be a part of it. But the uniqueness comes from what is being offered. The Makers Festival is a unique experience for our community, makers and other business owners and I don’t know any other women shaving their head for Shave the Date but hopefully that will change soon!

15. Do you have any advice for those who want to get involved?
It doesn’t take much to help. Ask around and do what feels right for you.

16. How do you encourage volunteerism?
By showing appreciation to the volunteers and not taking them for granted ever. They’re what makes the world go round.

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17. How do you think we can motivate our youth to get involved?
Education. They should have to take a class on it at school. That sounds boring though so maybe promise to take them skydiving or something afterwards? I don’t know. Kids scare me.

18. What would you like to pass on to future generations?
The art of empathizing, problem solving and selflessness.

19. What inspires you to keep paying it forward?
Lessening someone else’s burden even if only for a moment.

20. Is there a specific uplifting quote that best exemplifies what you stand for?
We’re all in this together. -someone

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