Venti Questions: Kyle Gronostajski

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. Kyle Gronostajski, Executive Director of Alliance for a Living Ocean, graciously accepted our invitation to share his version of philanthropy.

Kyle Gronostajski by Ann Coen Photography

1. What does philanthropy mean to you?
Philanthropy is the desire to want to help others. By definition most people associate the term with money and donations, but you can just as easily donate your time and have an equal or greater impact.

2. What inspired you to make a difference?
I don’t know if there was any one thing that made me feel like I should want to help others. I’d hope everyone wants to make a difference whether it be for others in need, or the environment. If it takes a little extra inspiration I hope they can find that by seeing others lead by example.

3. Do you feel a personal responsibility to help others?
Again I hope everyone has a willingness to help others. It is so easy to get involved in so many causes and you won’t feel bad about yourself so whats stopping you?

4. What is the source of your passion?
I have a great respect for the ocean and environment as a whole. Surfing, fishing, and taking photos in and around the water keep me motivated. That has led to me working for ALO and getting involved with the local area non profits. Just as being in or on the water keeps me motivated, knowing I have made a change or inspired and helped someone does as well.

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5. What impact would you like to make in the community?
I want to get as many people motivated to make a difference as possible. Much of my work involves getting people to make minor changes to create a better environment free of trash. Awareness of these issues is the biggest thing I hope I can instill in people at the very least.

6. How long have you been doing this?
I’d like to think this is something I’ve been involved in my whole life. I’ve always surfed and fished so that connection to the ocean has always been there. I guess after graduating college I became more involved with volunteering for organizations like ALO, and now I have furthered that into my career.

7. Is there/what is the ripple effect?
Absolutely. Creating awareness and a sense of responsibility in others is a main goal. Many people visit our area and then go back home to various areas. If I can teach them an important lesson while they are here that they then take back home and practice, I’d say that is a great ripple effect.

8. What are your goals and values?
My goals are to create a healthier and cleaner environment not only here in the LBI Region but also as far as my travels may take me. I definitely live by the sentiment of only leaving footprints. Pick up trash whenever you can, take only pictures, and remember no matter where you go it is likely someone else’s home so treat as you would your own.

9. How do your goals and values reflect what you are doing to give back and make a difference?
Until we no longer need to remind people of their direct and indirect impacts to the environment I’ll have a job. I gladly welcome the day it is not needed though. That said my job is to closer align others goals and values to those stated above.

10. What exactly is your end goal and how do you plan on accomplishing this?
My goal is for my job to not exist. Pretty lofty so for now the best way to get a little closer is to continue outreach and education. Engaging people and creating an understanding of why these issues are so important is a great way to start the conversation.

11. If someone would like to contribute a donation or lend a hand in this process, how can they do so?
Donations can be made easily via ALO’s website. We are also always looking for volunteers, information can be found on our website as well.

12. Are you involved in any community partnerships or collaborations?
ALO is involved in a number of partnerships and collaborations. Whether its working with Jetty on the Coquina or Clam Jam, Passport to LBI to promote all our great nonprofits, as well as any number of businesses interested in our goals and mission.

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See Kyle’s Shave the Date Ambassador Page & make a pledge to benefit DDBCF!

13. How do your collaborations coincide with your end goal?
Our collaborations allow us to reach an ever growing audience. We’re lucky to partner with great events like Hop Sauce Festival which since the beginning has agreed to eliminate single use plastic water bottles in an effort to lessen the popular event’s footprint.

ALO Portable Water Stationsat Hop Sauce Fest by Kyle Gronostajski Photography

ALO Portable Water Stations at Hop Sauce Fest by Kyle Gronostajski Photography

14. Why do you believe what you’re doing is unique, in comparison to anyone else?
I think what we are doing is unique in the sense that is applied and occurs directly in this area. We are not a regional chapter of some larger non profit. We remain committed to our home and in turn receive a great amount of support.

15. Do you have any advice for those who want to get involved?
What are you waiting for? There is no reason to wait. All the necessary information is easily available and there always opportunities to get involved in all sorts of community events.

16. How do you encourage volunteerism?
We are forever appreciative and thankful for all of our volunteers over the years. Whether they are volunteers on our executive board, or just come out to help with a beach clean up or dune planting. Without them our organization would not be here today.

17. How do you think we can motivate our youth to get involved?
Teaching the valuable lessons early on can make them more passionate. We work with a number of schools, youth groups, and younger volunteers who are extremely passionate and concerned about the current state of the environment.

18. What would you like to pass on to future generations?
The actions today are going to impact their future. I’d like to leave them a cleaner environment to enjoy.

19. What inspires you to keep paying it forward?
What goes around, comes around. Surrounding yourself with positive and good people can only further those goals and your mission.

20. Is there a specific uplifting quote that best exemplifies what you stand for?
“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.” -John F. Kennedy

 

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