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TisBest Philanthropy Founders Interview with Erik Marks and Simeon Cathey
14th September 2021 • #redefinegifting • Nicole A. Donnelly
00:00:00 00:37:30

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Nicole Donnelly:

Welcome to this episode, the founders story of the redefine gifting Podcast. I'm here with Erik Marks and Simeon Kathy, who are the co-founders of TisBest. And so this is a special occasion to get these two together on a call, I don't think I've had that yet. And I really wanted to know where the heart of this came from. When you were young Simeon what was the first kind of philanthropic or charitable activity that you witnessed and it could be something that a parent or neighbor or friend, that started you on this path, even from a little seedling.


Yeah so I think the first memory I have that really made me understand what giving charitably kind of meant or felt like, I think it was I was about eight years old, and it was back before I used to only sing in the shower or in the car. I was in the choir at the Baptist Church, and we did some caroling we went to the old folks home and there were all these people in wheelchairs, and some you know some people couldn't talk there were people who had mental disabilities. And I remember we walked in, we stood there and we started caroling in front of all these people, and I just remember watching, you know, being very uncomfortable, not really understanding why we're there and watching people's faces just light up. I realized that we weren't really giving much. We were sharing some energy in that space. I showed up there going, “Mom, why do I have to do this?“ and I left there feeling like wow, there was something there, there really was something there that was important, I wasn't really quite sure exactly what, and I definitely felt it.

Nicole Donnelly  23:45

Thank you. And Erik, what about you.


I didn't start that young, I have to say, I was pretty focused on my career as a lawyer, and I wasn't, to be honest, focused on philanthropy and charity. I was raised in Berkeley, California, so I was raised very much in a liberal background with an awareness of the needs of others but, I didn't have my eyes open to charity, the way Simeon just described until later in life on, I had some personal troubles I went through and I took some time away from work, and there's a guy at work I ran with every day and he was saying well what are you going to do during your time away and I described things like traveling and fishing and skiing. He said, “Well, have you thought about helping other people?” And it was that one comment from a guy on a run that changed the trajectory in my life. Because I, my answer was no. Well, what would that look like? He talked to me about some of the charitable work he'd done through his church. And so somehow I got hooked in with, with the woman who was running mission trips at the church I was going to at the time, and I made an appointment with her and she said that they had a trip leaving in something like three weeks to Romania to work with orphans and I didn't have kids and I had no experience working with orphans and I didn't even know where Romania was exactly, and, and they had been working on this trip for six months and she said but you're sitting here before me today it seems like you're meant to go on this trip, why don't you come and, and I went and I worked with orphans in Romania and that was how I got started and in caring about philanthropy and charity...

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