Venti Questions: Jeremy DeFilippis

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. Jeremy DeFilippis, CEO & Founding Partner of The Jetty Life, graciously accepted our invitation to share his version of philanthropy.

Jeremy DeFilippis (center) and the Hop Sauce Festival Committee by Ryan Johnson for Ann Coen Photography

Jeremy DeFilippis (center) and the Hop Sauce Festival Committee by Ryan Johnson for Ann Coen Photography

1. What does philanthropy mean to you?
I used to equate philanthropy with wealthy people making donations, but I think its fair to define it as using ones resources in order to give back, and that can include everything from financial to volunteerism.

2. What inspired you to make a difference?
I don’t know, it’s not like it happened overnight. I think Jetty took shape and truly became a vehicle to do good and make a difference. We started with stuff as small as Katrina relief and the Get Rad! scholarship, those initiatives made us feel good, and they worked as marketing for the brand too. As the company grows, we’re sticking to that pillar of community and charity. Bottom line, it feels good to make a difference whether we are helping one person in need or donating to an entire school/class.

3. Do you feel a personal responsibility to help others?
Yes, I do. When you have that sense of fulfillment after running an event or writing that donation check it is just overwhelming. You just know that you are doing the right thing and you get so connected to the causes.

4. What is the source of your passion?
Great question, I’m not even sure what that means! I have always been a fiery person and I think I have found some sort of odd balance between individualism and community. On one side I am surfing or hitting a golf shot that only I can control, and on the other I am conscious of being part of the bigger picture, the community. Getting a good wave is equal to organizing an event that benefits many. I think there is some sort of connection there, but it is hard to link my passions to one singular source.

Jeremy DeFilippis by Ann Coen Photography

Jeremy DeFilippis by Ann Coen Photography

5. What impact would you like to make in the community?
I want the community to be a better place then the one that I grew up in. I want to reverse the stereotypical laziness of the next generation and prepare our future leaders to carry the torch. I want our region to get up to speed with beautification and business. I think our area is a special one, but we have to overcome the dichotomy of tourism vs. geographical isolation.

6. How long have you been doing this?
Several years into Jetty is when I started to understand the bigger picture and mature a bit. Superstorm Sandy was a watershed moment for me both personally and professionally.

Cory Higgins & Jeremy DeFilippis (right) / Surfline.com

Cory Higgins & Jeremy DeFilippis (right) / Surfline.com

7. Is there/what is the ripple effect?
There is a ripple effect and it just has to do with having a positive attitude and outlook. Life is short. You can influence so many people simply by loving what you do and leading by example.

8. What are your goals and values?
I’m constantly realigning my goals. Business-wise I want to reinvigorate the Chambers of Commerce and have everyone working together. I want to continue to travel the world to learn from other cultures, get married, make my home a beautiful one, and bring people together for great causes. As far as values, don’t lie, cheat, or steal – do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a good one to live by.

Jeremy DeFilippis & Crystal Prochoren / Personal photo borrowed from Facebook

Jeremy DeFilippis & Crystal Prochoren / Personal photo borrowed from Facebook

9. How do your goals and values reflect what you are doing to give back and make a difference?
Hopefully my goals and values reflect a contribution to the greater good, and to the place that I absolutely love – Long Beach Island.

10. What exactly is your end goal and how do you plan on accomplishing this?
I don’t necessarily have an end goal. I just want to wake up, be happy, influence others to do good, help people, and at some point guide the next generation to do the same. By the time you get near an end goal there are other, new end goals…or you’re gone!

11. If someone would like to contribute a donation or lend a hand in this process, how can they do so?
That’s easy, just make a donation to the Jetty Rock Foundation, sponsor and/or volunteer at our events, or simply patronize them.

12. Are you involved in any community partnerships or collaborations?
Yes, I think collaboration and partnership are great because everyone has different strengths – if you put those together, then you multiply the outcome. We partner with David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation on the Jetty Coquina Jam, with several, local businesses (Old Causeway, Black Whale, Reynolds Landscaping, Spice It Up, Shore Point Distribution, Ann Coen Photography…just to name a few), and also with the schools, namely Southern Regional. There are also radical people like Joe Mangino, Corinne Ruff, & Angela Anderson (to name a few) that we partner with frequently on projects.

Jeremy DeFilippis by Kyle Gronostajski

Jeremy DeFilippis by Kyle Gronostajski

13. How do your collaborations coincide with your end goal?
You CAN’T do it all yourself! this is something I learned over the years…organize, delegate, and conquer.

14. Why do you believe what you’re doing is unique, in comparison to anyone else?
I’m not doing anything differently on a personal level, but the company that I am a part of (Jetty) is. Knowing how hard it is to stay afloat financially vs. what we have accomplished, that grind and success is something no other East Coast surf/lifestyle apparel company has done in my opinion.

15. Do you have any advice for those who want to get involved?
Get involved. Stop pointing fingers and complaining. Learn the facts, contribute, and help make a difference.

16. How do you encourage volunteerism?
Volunteers make our events possible. There are all of these amazing people that volunteer to help build stuff, move stuff, pour beer (Hop Sauce), etc….you simply cannot do it without them, and they allow for us to raise more money because otherwise we’d be expensing more, and donating less. Volunteering is an easy way to contribute and be a part of what we are doing with Jetty – every helping hand counts as much as the dollars do.

Jeremy DeFillipis & a few Hop Sauce Fest volunteers by Ryan Johnson for Ann Coen Photography

Jeremy DeFillipis & a few Hop Sauce Fest volunteers by Ryan Johnson for Ann Coen Photography

17. How do you think we can motivate our youth to get involved?
Well, we are running a Future Leaders program at SRHS through the Entrepreneurship elective. That is a direct way that we can influence the younger people and show them hands-on what it is like to run a small business, be an entrepreneur, be involved in your community, and pay it forward. Running that program, leading by example, and having lots of little one-on-one experiences and conversations will hopefully enlighten the younger cats.

18. What would you like to pass on to future generations?
All of the knowledge that we have fought to understand, and most of it by making mistakes. We’re a DIY, grassroots business and nothing was handed to us, so the amount that we have learned (and are still learning) is priceless for those that follow, want to run their own business, start a brand, organize an event, etc.

19. What inspires you to keep paying it forward?
My belief in karma and knowing that we are truly helping individuals, groups, schools, those in need, etc. It makes you feel good personally and doing good is good marketing.

20. Is there a specific uplifting quote that best exemplifies what you stand for?
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” ~Abraham Lincoln

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