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Black Card Circle and Lotay Yang: Philanthropy Funded by a Sustainable Spirit

| Wednesday March 4th, 2009 | 20 Comments

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As the tides continue to turn toward corporate social responsibility, we are seeing what I affectionately term “conscious capitalists” popping up, using their high profile influence, social capital — and revenue — to drive change on a grand scale. Black Card Circle, an elite social network of prominent business professionals comprised of what Founder, Lotay Yang, calls “CIA’s: Connectors, Influencers, and Alphas,” is committed to using their access, connections and wealth to benefit charitable organizations worldwide.

What’s unqiue about this social network, launching officially 09/09/09, is that all members are validated and verified to ensure trusted transactions and trusted interactions between professionals seeking to collaborate in a “safer, secure, legitimate environment,” according to Lotay. So, rather than engaging in unverified social ecosystems such as Facebook and MySpace, Black Card Circle screens each member carefully, and ensures that they are committed to the core values BCC seeks to uphold. The result is a values-driven community that can advance ventures and programs in a significant way.
Passionate about making a difference, Lotay created the Black Card Circle Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that allows the collective of conscious capitalists he’s assembled to contribute substantially to the betterment of humanity by raising awareness for, and providing grants, to non-profit organizations that serve one of the following core areas: Education, Environment, Healthcare, Global Development, and Poverty Relief. The profits generated from Black Card Circle seed the BCCF, facilitating an ongoing stream of funds to keep philanthropic endeavors thriving. And at the core of the foundation beats a heart of gold by a man who truly wants to save the world.


1. How do you define for-profit philanthropy?

I would take the words “for profit” out of the equation. Profit and money is just a means to an end. And for me, that end is saving the world. So, I’d define it as the act of being selfless over selfish, using your means to give unconditionally. Far too many give “in order to”… in order to elevate their position, in order to increase sales, in order to get something back for themselves. That is not giving in my opinion. That is still a self-focused act. It’s a transaction or a way of bartering to get what you want. Giving should be about the beneficiary, and while I’m far from perfect, I try to be a man of honor who cares and loves. I draw inspiration from Christ and people like Martin Luther King and Gandhi; those who exemplifed selflessness in words and actions. They inspired a quote I remind myself of often:

“Give. Give till you can’t give anymore… then give some more.”

My true passion is the Black Card Circle Foundation which was born from a deep commitment to giving back after I lost my father at 21. When he died, I thought to myself that, not only did I just lose a father who had instilled in me the values of unconditional love, but that the world lost an amazing man, too. On that day, I made a promise to honor him through everything I do, and the BCCF is the outward extension of that, which pays homage to the gifts he gave me that I want to share with others — and the world. It’s the embodiment of who I am, and my core values and beliefs; not a corporate strategy.

To get back to the definition, money makes the world go round but money was man made. It was a means of exchanging services. Through our approach to what you call “for-profit philanthropy,” we facilitate a re-allocation of capital to exchange wealth to charitably inclined, selfless individuals, and bonafide organizations.
2. Please describe your philanthropic business plan and your current charitable activities.
The Foundation is a bit like Robin Hood, not in that we’re stealing from the rich to give to the poor, but in that we’re asking those who are rich in means (as defined by society) to use their wealth, influence and social capital to help those in need. We basically attract capital to help drive awareness and donations for important causes.
Ultimately, what we’re doing is making it sexy and fashionable to give. By having high profile events with beautiful people and luxury brands such as the Ritz Carlton and Tiffanys, we create a red carpet extravaganza where people can get dressed up, and meet and interact with cool people. And all that money and attention is raising awareness and contributions for charities around the world.
Our cornerstone event is the Black Tie Charity Event, which takes place twice a year, and generates incredible amounts of funds and attention for the charities we support. And to ensure that the donations are reaching bonafide associations, we vet every charitable organization, and do comprehensive due diligence using a variety of tools to ensure that our members can feel comfortable giving their money to a trusted entity.

In addition to the bi-annual gala event, we also have scaled down events called “IMs, Intimate Mixers,” where people can gather to connect with influential people and leaders in a more business casual setting.

As far as the foundation itself, we are a 100% volunteer organization with minimal overhead. This structure was by design in that we run the operations very lean so that the maximum proceeds benefit the charities.

“Our mission is to empower the voiceless in society by promoting self-reliance and sustainability. We don’t hand out fish; we teach people how to fish.”

3. How do you communicate the impact of these efforts to your customers?

We will be communicating the awareness impact of our efforts in the Philanthropy section of BlackCardCircle.com v2.0 website (launching shortly). I believe that measuring awareness for these charitable organizations is the most important barometer because it’s awareness that brings money, and volunteers, and provides the exposure needed to truly make a difference. We spotlight these causes in high profile ways to create that critical level of mass awareness. By supporting Black Card Circle, you bring these charities to the forefront and in doing so, help us help others.

4. Why do you think it’s important for companies to adopt philanthropy as part of their revenue model?

Simply put: We’re all in this together.
5. What would you say is the most critical element in successfully implementing philanthropic endeavors?
Giving just for the joy of giving. Making a sustainable difference comes from the heart.
Name: Lotay Yang
Company: Black Card Circle and Black Card Circle Foundation
Title: Founder
Website: www.BlackCardCircle.com and www.causes.com/blackcardcirclefoundation
Contact: lotay@blackcardcircle.com


▼▼▼      20 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • http://www.thriveinbalance.com Jordan M

    Giving turns the tide and looks desperation in the face and tells another story, giving to others is the real power. Don’t give fish, teach fish. Appreciate the post.

  • Chele

    Wow, what an amazing thing you are doing. I came to read your website because I like what you Tweet on Twitter. I admire your courage to walk the walk and not just talk the talk!!! I will be following your progress. Best wishes.

  • http://www.sanjeevsaikiaart.blogspot.com Sanjeev Saikia

    Sounds like something that might make a difference, great read… thanks!
    http://www.sanjeevsaikiaart.blogspot.com

  • http://ketinunkantim.blogspot.com Marcos A. Rondineli

    That candle on generosity seems to never be able to get ever off …
    I’m not fluent in English but I’ve read most of your words, after the first paragraph, out loud for my ownself for the pleasure of ears, and I realized, just now, I did it in order to do not be eye-selfish pleasing only eyes and mind.
    You’ve got in me another follower, from my heart.
    Thank you for your work. Your father … wherever he is … he is very proud of you.

  • http://www.urbanfluteproject.com Jamie Thompson

    Thank you for the follow on Twitter!
    I have a collaborative musical project here in Toronto where I offer music to interesting, grass-roots organizations such as FoodShare, Evergreen, as well as Heritage and Urban Awareness groups. I invite gifted students to join me to play duos or trios in social settings, and post the results on my blogsite, Urban Flute Project.
    Recently I was invited to speak at the Rotman School about the social and artistic merits of UFP from the perspective of Richard Florida’s Creative Industries.
    I would like to extend an offer of live background music to you and your organization, perhaps for one of your Intimate Mixers, if you feel it might enhance the event!
    I will send this under separate cover…thank you for your selfless initiatives!
    Jamie
    Toronto

  • Anonymous

    “You must be the change you want to see in the world” Congratulations for being the change that many of us hope to see in the world too. Every person and spirit who gives counts.Thank you.

  • Carol Lee

    The only real lasting power in the world is the power of good. I love what you are doing here. My husband and I love to contribute to the arts and education organizations here in Orange County. (Pacific Symphony, Orange County Museum of Art, Girls Inc, Charter 100 (for Irvine Valley College Scholarships to single moms), Chapman Film School) + others on the periphery.
    Thank you for all that you are doing!

  • francy stoller

    http://www.fortgang.com/a wing and a prayer/we have raised our family/now twenty people/on the feckless earnings of independent art/We have not been able to save anything for retirement. We both have important work to continue/I’m a poet and my husband wants to continue painting and has his eye on sculpting in New Mexico. We have a small studio in the Bronx and a building on the Champlain Canal/we are in our sixties/ a little tired and discouraged/THANK-YOU in advance can you find some grant or charity to help us continue our important work in this time of economic struggle. http://francystoller- blogspot.com,twitter-francystoller/peace and freedom

  • http://www.theboldlife.com Tess The Bold Life

    How refreshing you are!

  • http://www.hisstreetsministries.org PastorJoseph Talancon

    Just wanted to say thank you for having a heart to help those that serve, though you are serving by giving there are so many needs. Those homeless and those becoming homeless as a small ministry we feed many homeless and clothe them also every month we are not a church but a ministry founded for outside the wall service, very rewarding to show love and to fellowship with those that are left to fend for themselves God Bless you all!

  • http://www.hisstreetsministries.org PastorJoseph Talancon

    http://www.ning.com/pastorjosephtalancon By the way we are under the umbrella of Haven of Hope City within a City as a consortium thanks again for helping us serve those in need God Bless!

  • Pingback: » A Social Good : Girls In Tech :()

  • http://silvervalleyaction.com helen

    The needs of the Silver Valley Community Resource Center are great. With so little they do so much, and now are tying to stop more contamination from mining waste in their area and downstream communities. Every and any support is needed and welcome. See their page for more information. It is a 3rd world situation in Idaho.

  • cherylrich

    When I read this…Lotay, I felt that you embody this poem;
    My Dear, Sit tall in your Chariot and hold the reins.
    Latch your Dreams to a Star and pull hard, for the harder you pull, the higher you will climb.
    Climb until you reach the top…
    Love and Respect Others…for the World can be Beautiful…YOU can make it YOURS!

    LOTAY, May the Universe Keep and Bless You my Brother!

  • MarcyNeumannHeartlitesInc

    “Our mission is to empower the voiceless in society by promoting self-reliance and sustainability. We don’t hand out fish; we teach people how to fish.” This is precisely what our planet needs! Self sustainability built on a foundation of CELLpH Love! Beautiful! Many blessings ~ Marcy Neumann

  • colleen geary

    Wow…What an amazing vision, Lotay. Breathtaking!!!~

  • Rich

    Weak. Something for wannbe “rich” people to do a little to make themselves feel good without making any real lasting contribution or impact.

  • Rich

    Weak. Something for wannbe “rich” people to do a little to make themselves feel good without making any real lasting contribution or impact.

  • http://twitter.com/francystoller Francy Stoller

    Who is in the New York area. Any groups who have Real Estate Endowments.What lists are being signed. We drivneed this year for our annual pilgrimage to the desert/ iNew Mexico that is/for the last two years we've driven but the car's not that safe this year. Send contributions to 90 Main Street,Whitehall ,N.Y. 12887.Look at the website: http://www.fortgang.com—–or call to discuss sponsorship 347 673 3506. E-mail address-let us your ystollerviews on independent artists in a time of economic diress…..francystoller@aol.com

  • Francystoller

    One week later/we wait to work in the Southwest/francystoller@aol.com.–interested in sponsoring two artists who have been working for forty years for the betterment of humanity/an artist's oath next to a clery's vow of poverty….

  • Francystoller

    Still waiting on philanthropy-www.fortgang.com
    -2328 Arthur Ave 3c ,BRONX,New York, 10458-waiting on checks-one or two dollars will help us get back out west to harvest red stone for sculpture-get down South so my hisband Steve can paint his heart out on New Orleans-Give a shout-Peace-and Understanding-