We’ll be featuring Millennial Philanthropists in a blog series this month, asking them a few brief questions about why they give and get involved with causes.  For more info, visit our Millennial Philanthropist Project.

Millennial Philanthropist Project: Phillip KollingFirst up, we’d like to introduce Philip Kolling. Phil is a 30 year old dad, husband, student, SerVermont Executive Director, outdoorsman, gardener, and keeper of chickens.

Phil, please tell us a little more about yourself.

I am a proud father of two young boys, and spend most of my free time these days playing with Legos, toy cars, reading books and romping around the house. I grew up in Rhode Island and have always lived in New England, but came to Vermont to serve as an AmeriCorps member in 2006. While I left and came back a couple of times, my wife Brandy and I intentionally came back to Vermont to start our family. I have always been a giver, mostly with time, but more and more with what little money I can give as life gets busy and time gets more and more precious.

If you had an extra $100 and couldn’t spend it on yourself (and you have to spend it), what would you do with the money?

I would convert it to quarters, then I would line up jars labelled with my family’s favorite organizations, then I would let my two-year old disperse it between the jars. When he lost interest after about $20 dollars’ worth of quarters, I would put the remainder in the Vermont Foodbank jar. Then I would get out the wagon, put the jar and two-year old in it, and walk to the Foodbank to hand deliver it, and maybe if we are lucky, see a forklift in action once we got there.

Why did you say yes to being a part of this Millennial Philanthropist Project?

In my line of work with National Service and AmeriCorps I see LOTS of Millennials who do not fit the lazy and apathetic stereotype they have been given. I am one of those Millennials, and being part of this project was an opportunity to set the record straight. I also participated because I see many of my peers who are hesitant to give, or feel that their contribution is insignificant, and then take no action…and that is an issue. If everyone in this generation viewed their contribution as important and significant, no matter how large or small it is, Millennials would be a more visible philanthropic force. The reality is that a $5 contribution or an hour of volunteer service will never be recognized with your name on the side of a building, or much more than a “Thank You!”, but that $5 or hour of time really is just as crucial as the $1,000 donation. Every contribution counts. I wanted to make sure I was part of a project that let people know these things.


You can follow Phil on Twitter: @PhilipKolling.

The McClure Foundation, a supporter of the Vermont Foodbank, practices what it calls “project-oriented, collaborative philanthropy” and this is what we see from our Millennial donors and volunteers every day.  To get involved, visit our website or sign-up for our e-news or texts.