Melarbit’s 15th anniversary has been an opportunity to pause and reflect as we prepare to move into our next chapter. In so doing, we hope it encourages you to reassess your own business and philanthropic priorities especially in the post-Covid19 era.
We recognize now that our experiences these past fifteen years placed Melarbit in the Impact business, which is a relatively new category of business practice. It’s based on an understanding that the pursuit of philanthropy is really an opportunity to match capacity, financial and otherwise, with calling.
We believe that fundraising and philanthropy are powerful tools to advance one’s life purpose and business goals. However, they are often underutilized. One of the biggest challenges is the false choice we are forced to make between money & mission.
Broadening Melarbit’s purpose from raising money to developing and aligning the resources needed to achieve a larger purpose, or impact, has defined our journey from transaction to transformation these past 15 years.
Interestingly, this has been a personal journey for me that began in 1986 when, as an eager first-generation college graduate, I was looking to make my mark in the business world. But it wasn’t long before the sole focus on money in a strictly 1980s transactional business world, would change my course.
The first step in my path to combine my own business and entrepreneurial pursuits with a deep sense of purpose and place was just beginning. Over the years – one persistent step at a time – through a series of small wins, and at times bold decisions, I was able to move closer to my true calling.
The idea of integrating a career with a calling was unfamiliar in 1986. There were no models on how to do such a thing. So, I asked myself – what made me feel energized, connected, and stimulated?
By answering those questions, using growth and change as my guiding principles, I was able to expand my life choices. A few of my more transformative experiences:
• Traveling cross-country on a road trip
• Supporting my family’s restaurants and related food businesses
• Living in several rural communities – Berkshires in Western, MA; Ithaca, NY; Brattleboro Vt.
• Entering the nonprofit sector in 1993 as a fundraising generalist at Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House located in the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, Queens, the nation’s largest public housing development.
• Moving on from Jacob Riis to build my fundraising and philanthropy career in three additional professional development settings at Beth Israel Medical Center/Continuum Health Partners; Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Lighthouse International.
• Using arts, creativity, and entrepreneurship to stimulate economic activity and revitalize several under-valued urban areas: Asbury Park; Orange, Newark, and Jersey City, all in NJ.
• Committing myself to my life-partner and husband, Marcos, whose more Caribbean values consistently challenge and enrich my life.
Going out on my own to establish Melarbit in 2006 allowed me to move from a transactional mindset to a transformational one. I integrated my varied experiences into a more holistic practice that blended my personal mission and money goals. Over the years I have gain significant expertise in several emerging practices that advanced a business approach to addressing social, health, community and economic development challenges.
Link here to learn more about Melarbit’s impact and experience over the past 15 years.
As we move ahead, we are excited to use our experience to support a new, more inclusive generation of fundraising and philanthropic leaders by driving innovation and entrepreneurship in the social and philanthropic sectors.
The journey continues.