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A Short Guide to Philanthropy: David Bolno’s Thoughts on Giving Back

David Bolno is a business manager who’s made a name for himself in the LA area. Known for his work ethic, philanthropy, and expertise, he’s managed to carve out a real presence in a county of nearly 10 million people. 

He’s made his mark on the professional community by advising high-profile companies and individuals on how to operate as efficiently as possible. However, he’s far more than a prestigious day job. Bolno, who has his bachelor’s from Duke University and law degree from Temple University, has strong opinions about how he made it to where he is and why it’s so important to prioritize the art of giving back to others

What It Means to Guide 

In his heart of hearts, David Bolno is a guide. He sets people up on a path that will lead to their financial and personal well-being. Whether he’s at work or not, his primary question is what he can do to bring value to another person in his community. In one case, this may mean planning his client’s taxes.

In another, it might mean giving advice to a young college graduate who’s ready to start their career. Bolno doesn’t discriminate when it comes to the people around him. He encourages others in his life to take the same stance when it comes to their personal and professional lives. Helping someone navigate a complex situation not only gives them perspective, but it can also help you get a better grasp on how to navigate yourself through difficult times too. 

What It Means to Give Back 

Philanthropy is most associated with extreme wealth, but there’s no reason people need to be in the 1% to make a difference. In fact, David Bolno believes it’s the time that you invest that can make the most difference. This could refer to the time it takes to investigate different causes before committing to one. Or it could mean the time it takes to organize a gala for a mission that matters to you. 

Bolno also emphasizes how critical it is to assess what you can really do to be useful in any given situation. This isn’t an easy task, but it can set you up for the most fulfilling rewards. For instance, he considers how he can use his professional contacts in any given situation. When you work with the Hollywood elite like David does, he has more access to more resources than most.

He has to figure out how he can use his platform and influence in a way that everyone benefits. In other words, if he calls to ask someone for a favor, it’s likely he does so because the benefits will splash back across the board (including onto the person who’s doing the favor). This philosophy is exactly how he managed to make it so far in his professional life, but the reality is that it doesn’t end when he leaves the office. 

What It Means to Seek Opportunities 

If you simply go from your home to work and back again on most days, the landscape will start to look very similar from one hour to the next. If you want to find people and causes that matter to you, it may mean taking the time to look for them. David Bolno says that sometimes it’s as easy as opening your eyes. Chances are, there are friends, family members, and co-workers who could use a little more support.

Small things, like supporting school fundraising drives or reaching out to a loved one during a difficult time, can lead to much bigger endeavors. It’s easy to let some of the flashier events drown out the small acts of kindness we do, but the latter often turn out to be the building blocks for the most successful campaigns of all time. 

What It Means to Take Part in Your Community 

The oft repeated saying to ‘think global, act local’ has a lot of merit to it, even if it leaves people a little confounded. For instance, if climate change is most severe several thousand miles away, it may make sense to give to that area. However, Bolno says that this way of thinking can easily lead people to believe that their efforts are better invested outside their communities. David believes this is a mistake.

Giving back to your community doesn’t mean that you can’t give to worthwhile causes in other places or even visit different towns and countries. It means that collective efforts outside your door can affect meaningful change well beyond your community. Because your neighborhood doesn’t exist in a vacuum, all that effort can end up stretching to other neighborhoods, cities, towns, states, and even countries. The key is to be consistent. The more you can act based on what’s happening at the time, the more you’re going to inspire others around you to do the same. 

What It Means to Do the Right Thing 

Doing the right thing is more subjective than people give it credit for at times. For David Bolno, he had to carefully consider his code of ethics and then stick to it as much as possible. He’s open to new ideas and philosophies, but he also doesn’t allow himself to be shaken from his core ideals. To him, success is not about how much money he’s made over the course of the day. Rather, it comes down to the results of his actions.

He evaluates himself based on how strong his relationships are (including the one he has with himself) and how his work has contributed to the well-being of the people around him. This may refer to his colleagues and A-list clients, but it could just as easily apply to a family or individual who could use a hand to get back on their feet. 

David Bolno understands that few things are ever as straightforward as they seem. Doing the right thing isn’t just hard sometimes, it can feel downright counterproductive. He reminds people that no matter what the outcome is, the practice of doing the right thing is what counts the most. Eventually, it will begin to pay off — even if it takes some time to get there. 

What It Means to Get Back 

For people like David Bolno, the art of giving is the same as the art of getting. When people donate to a cause or connect with others through charitable work, they’re more likely to feel good about themselves. They’re also less likely to suffer from stress or anxiety. Thinking about someone else means that you’re not thinking as much about yourself. It takes the focus off your problems, which you may not be able to do very much about and puts them squarely on a cause that you can do something about.

Getting back comes in many forms, both financially and personally. By supporting the business community of LA, he’s managed to receive a lot of financial gains in the process. These portfolio successes are more of a byproduct of his general approach to philanthropy. When you make it your mission to give back to others, others make it their mission to give back to you.