Inspiration from self-made billionaire Gary Michelson for investing in the future of the world.
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The Covid pandemic took the world by surprise. The level of unpreparedness led to panic on all fronts and ultimately economic collapse. Many wonder if doom and darkness are the new reality. Are the workarounds we've created really "the new normal"? Can we somehow go back to how it was before the pandemic?
The truth is that no matter what the future has in store, the best way to achieve the most beneficial outcome is through collective large-scale efforts in catalytic philanthropy.
"Times of major disruption and hardship are also times when the boldest ideas are introduced," says self-made billionaire Gary Michelson.
Michelson is a philanthropist spinal surgeon and founder of the Michelson Medical Research Foundation, the Michelson Neglected Disease Vaccine Initiative, and the Michelson Twenty Million Minds Foundation (20MM). He believes in the importance of educating others about why philanthropy helps our world recover, as it is the flow of trade that has been able to keep a heartbeat, even if it's erratic, in the post-pandemic world.
I spoke to Michelson to learn how catalytic philanthropy can fix the world. Here's what he had to say on how this can be achieved with the help of VCs and entrepreneurs.
Offer support with educational progress
The pandemic caused the largest disruption to the education system in history, according to the United Nations, affecting nearly 1.6 billion people in more than 190 countries on every continent. We are in the final quarter of 2020 and most educational institutions are still fully digital with certain exceptions. Unfortunately, the closure of schools and other study spaces has affected 94 percent of the world's student population and up to 99 percent in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
An extra boost was needed through catalytic philanthropy to make education accessible to all. Catalytic Philanthropy can help students access the tools they need to complete their courses and advance to higher education. Before Covid, many college students who had just graduated from high school were already in debt. Higher education would only add to this debt.
Michelson insists that educating lawmakers about the importance of free education and / or the ability to secure funding for distribution is imperative. "This 'digital divide' that our educational institutions have imposed on individuals needs to be addressed," says Michelson. "The way to do this is by actively stepping up efforts to provide laptops and the Internet to students in need."
Related: Coding Bridging the Digital Divide
Facilitating education in prison and reform of the smart judiciary
Michelson is proof that catalytic philanthropy plays an active role in advancing prison education and reforming the smart justice system. He is passionate about anti-relapse programs designed to help prevent criminals from going back to prison. Many prisoners were released early due to overcrowding and Covid, but were not prepared for the post-pandemic world.
Research by Michelsons Foundation has shown that the three essential components to keeping these individuals out of prison are education / training, support outside of transition, and support for a peer group of past offenders who have successfully changed their lives.
Related Topics: These funding and business support programs help criminals start their lives afresh
Activate animal protection
Michelson also believes that pets are essential during these troubled times. Catalytic philanthropy can help care for and protect animals in volunteer homes. It can also fund campaigns to relieve the stress of local community shelters, whose adoption programs have been severely curtailed.
All in all, big problems require big investments in catalytic philanthropy to move forward. While innovative funders like Michelson are indeed making remarkable strides, the world needs more catalytic philanthropists to get involved. Michelson's actions show that it takes a lot more than just writing a check to make real change happen. Achieving transformative change also requires community relationships, a strong voice, and impeccable drive.