One of the three principles of Omnipreneurship is ‘Giving’ which interlocks with Earning & Sustaining. While all three principles need to be equally weighted to make the ecosystem effective, I have to admit that Giving captures my imagination most and keeps me focused on the finish line. Giving is what feels the most instinctual and represents the most natural way of behaviour.
The act of giving is native to most cultures and traditions the world over; the basic urge to help, to support, to give back to one’s community can be witnessed everywhere. I was raised by my parents to consider giving as a central part of life whether in monetary terms or less tangible ones, like the giving of time, of love and care. In “Omnipreneurship”, I wrote, “My mother taught my siblings and me from a very young age that we should never hesitate to give because the rewards of giving will always trump the generous action itself. This is not to say we give in order to receive a reward but, rather, that we give in order to continue a cycle of virtue. If we don’t give, we aren’t fulfilling our potential as human beings.”
I’ve found that to be a very effective way to lead my life and family business. At the heart of our mission at Al-Dabbagh Group is to be positive global corporate citizens delivering impact and scale for the greater good. It not only our Giving initiatives that allow us to contribute positively – our Earning and Sustaining activities are also poised and designed to include giving.
Since its inception in 1962, Al-Dabbagh Group has maintained a one to one ratio where for every dollar distributed as a dividend, an equal dollar is identified for philanthropic activities. My father, the founder, was interested in philanthropic work that would keep future generations engaged and active instead of relying on an endowment structure that would administer gifts on the family’s behalf. He wanted a participatory, reactive and strategic approach to philanthropy that today, we continue to refine and iterate upon.
Our focus has always been children – whether directly or indirectly because children respond to our belief in inclusion – our giving is blind to race, gender, religion, nationality – and is concerned principally with the business of building a better world. We institutionalised our giving in 2001 with the establishment of Stars Foundation, which we registered in the UK. Our main area of work began with the Stars Impact Awards, an annual awards programme that identifies, through a rigorous process, the best performing NGOs around the world, supporting disadvantaged children in the countries with the highest under five-mortality rate. The awards offer unrestricted fund, capacity building support and brand equity enhancement. In 2011, we underwent a strategy refresh and identified an opportunity to optimise the delivery of capacity building support. We created Philanthropy University, the first of it’s kind educational initiative that helps leaders working for social good deepen their impact through a variety of online courses taught by leading academics and practitioners.
These initiatives, coupled with the giving activities of the operating businesses of Al-Dabbagh have a bold vision to support the lives of 100 million people by 2020 by providing training and capacity building to thousands of NGOs in the Global South.
Let’s keep giving!
Amr Al-Dabbagh is CEO of the Al-Dabbagh Group, which operates 62 companies in 60 countries employing over 15,000 men and women around the world. Follow him on Twitter at @theomnipreneur and buy his book, Omnipreneurship, now available for Kindle and in hardback on Amazon.
Excerpt From: Amr Al-Dabbagh. “Omnipreneurship.” iBooks.