People often default to gushing over the highlight reel of entrepreneurship – travel, unique experiences, networking at cool events, and the semblance of ‘creating your own schedule.’ While in some cases, that is true – there’s much to be said about all the parts that end up on the cutting room floor.
Don’t get me wrong – I dove head first in to entrepreneurship, although rather naively. An opportunity found us, backed us into a corner and left us with no other option than to look at each other and say ‘I think this is the chance we have been waiting for.’ Four years later, and heading into a new decade, Relate Social Capital looks quite different. Last year we welcomed four new clients to our sport philanthropy family – but lost a cofounder. That’s the reality of life and business - things change, circumstances get hard and there is rarely a map for that. It was never our intent to have one captain on this ship, in fact, if I was armed with that knowledge back in 2016, I think current day would look quite different. Yet here I am, navigating a new normal in entrepreneurship, bringing in great partners to collaborate with and ultimately doing the best I can with the resources at hand and an unrelenting passion for sport philanthropy.
Some significant 2019 highlight we're grateful for:
Watching our clients embrace sport philanthropy and their role in this space: through alumni reunions, launching fund development campaigns, engagement programs, training sessions, repositioning, and upgrading their donor relations;
A couple years ago, we made the decision to invest in ourselves. In February 2019, I, along with some of my favourite new friends, graduated from the Sport Philanthropy Executive Program at George Washington University;
We hosted our first ever Intro to Sport Philanthropy webinar for the Canadian Olympic Committee and their NSO partners
We met with sport philanthropy leaders in 11 cities across Canada and the US;
We held our first strategic planning session in French with Égale Action;
We attended some incredible events such as SIGA American launch, NFL Community Relations summit, Champions for Philanthropy’s MVP Basketball Awards, Athlete Tech Summit, Facebook + Instagram’s Athlete Summit, Beyond Sport House, Uninterrupted Canada Launch, and the US Open to cheer on our female athlete of the year, Bianca Andreescu
I was invited to present on the Power of Unlocking Philanthropy and Capitalizing on your Assets at sponsorshipX Toronto
AFP published my case for sport to be considered charitable and kickstarting a wave of support across both the sport and charitable sectors
For four years I’ve often wondered if starting Relate was the right decision, if having a ‘real’ job might be easier, and let myself get beat up by all of the ‘what ifs’ that run through my mind in the middle of the night. Trying to stay on top of taxes, cash flow, travel, health, family, friends, trends, client services, CRA regulations and every administrative task you can think of, really starts to take a toll. But I have also watched clients raise sustainable funds, retired athletes coming back into the mix, and the overall acceptance of sport philanthropy – as in, people actually understanding what I do and that is what keeps me going. We’re just getting started.
Looking ahead to 2020, I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come. I have the privilege of working with wonderful organizations, incredibly smart collaborators, sector leaders and volunteers. Relate Social Capital has become just that - the collective value of social networks, and their tendency to support one another, enabling the greater society to function effectively. We are so incredibly grateful for every sport organization that invests in us, because it allows us to deliver on our promise to improve social capital through sport philanthropy, so thank you.