In Memory of Harley Hotchkiss

I sat down with Mr. Hotchkiss 3 years ago and interviewed him about his philanthropy.  I am re-posting the blog post here today in memory of an extraordinary man who was a committed member of Calgary's community as well as an integral part of Canada's fabric.

Here it is....

September 5, 2008.  Yesterday morning I sat down with Mr. Harley Hotchkiss, local businessman, former little league hockey coach, owner of the Calgary Flames and philanthropist; to discuss what effective philanthropy was and to share some of his wisdom.

This interview is part of a series of conversations I am having with Canadians who are investing their resources (time, intellectual and financial) in making our world a better place.  The purpose of these conversations is to share their experiences with those who are just starting down the path of generating social capital.

Almost two hours later, my face hurt from smiling and my head was a-buzz with ideas.  I came out of our meeting with a Top 10 List of Strategic Philanthropy.  This list is by no-means scientific or comprehensive, but it is something that has been repeated in different ways by the individuals that I have sat down with over the last little while.

The List

10. Love what you do (charity), not because someone asked you to do it.

9. Get engaged personally before you write a cheque

8. Some of your closest friends you will meet through community activities

7. Your priorities are family THEN job.  Your job will provide you with he means to support your community financially, but your family is what connects you to that community.

6. You don't have to be wealthy to be philanthropic. (Mr. Hotchkiss's first philanthropic activity was flooding the community hockey rink and coaching the kids)

5. When you are ready to give, it should "hurt" a little.  If your donation doesn't make you consider giving something up (even if it is a latte a week) then you are not giving enough.

4. Talk to your kids about philanthropy.  Don't place YOUR expectations on THEM.  Let them discover their own philanthropic dreams.

3. Surround yourself with competent, energizing people (volunteers, other charitable investors, innovative employees)

2. Use your philanthropy to support innovation AND operations

1. Your philanthropy should be about building community not just giving money.