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: Joe GaetaniNow we’d like to introduce Joe Gaetani, a 30-year-old videographer, editor and owner at Rightside Productions.  Joe produced the video associated with our Millennial Philanthropist Project, so we know him to be a passionate, hard-working problem solver.

Joe, please tell us a little more about yourself.

I am on the elder edge of being a Millennial. I relate to a lot of the ways that Millennials communicate, but I don’t necessarily relate to stereotypical Millennial thinking. I am a business owner who is constantly hiring other millennials as interns with the hope of growing their skills to become full-time employees. Snowboarding, surfing, and mountain biking are my hobbies, but they have taken a back seat to hang out with my daughter as she flies through toddlerhood.

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 treat two people to a really nice dinner.

You helped craft the questions for this video project as well as directed the filming and editing—what are your thoughts on millennial philanthropy? 

Millennial philanthropy is a tricky beast. Millennials are growing up in a time of corporate greed, growing disparity, and close-minded leadership. Having been raised in an environment where giving is always encouraged, I frequently gave my time to many just causes throughout my youth. Now that “adult” responsibilities have taken over, time is not a resource I can spare. Making the transition from giving time to giving money is hard. My family works hard for our money and extra money isn’t abundant. But, we do give small sums of money to organizations that we know will have a direct impact on causes we care about.

When I typically think of philanthropy, I think of wealthy people looking for a break on their taxes. However, if I sit down and really think about who is a philanthropist, I come to lots of people who habitually help others.  I do not consider myself a philanthropist. I do occasionally give time and money, but not habitually.

Millennials are our future leaders and colleagues. If we want to re-define our society as one that is inclusive and supportive, it needs to happen through thinking that is done without ulterior motives. If Millennials set a precedent of philanthropy, the generations behind us will have a clear path to see how philanthropy affects our society.


You can follow Joe on Twitter: @RSPvideo.

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.