Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

This Social Entrepreneur wants consumers to use their buying power for greater goods.

I can tell you that most of my life has been ordinary, or well a better phrase might be “quite typical.” I grew up in a good middle class home; I did all the things that the book of the “golden rule” tells one to do and stayed out of trouble. Along the way I had gotten married, bought a home and gave birth to a son, the “light of my life.” For the first three years after the birth of my son, my life was still what I would call quite typical. Then in one day, in one conversation with a Doctor, my life became anything but typical and that point onward has led me on this journey and how (why) I became a Social Entrepreneur.

Filomena and Dean Laforgia

In 2006 my son was diagnosed with Autism. The last word I ever expected to hear was “Autism.” What did it mean? What would my son’s life be like, his hopes and dreams, his growth and development – all of it; what would it be? That one simple seven letter word; so easy to say yet so complicated to define. After the initial shock, I read every web site, found every online publication, statistics, charts, graphs, spectrum scales, studies, clinicians opinions and so much else. I was so overwhelmed. Yet as a parent, my story into autism is not at all different than all the other stories and no less painful. Today, after extensive therapies and biomedical intervention, my son, now seven, is doing remarkably well and shows little signs of autism. Overall, I am excited for his future.

As a result of his success and progress, I started to conceptualized a business that would somehow support the commitment I made to my son to raise awareness. Initially, I thought, being former marketer I would develop and sell a product from which a percentage of the proceeds would be donated to Autism related organizations. While researching this concept, I uncovered thousands of “Products That Give Back” most of which were struggling to be noticed. Then, I discovered that there are roughly 1.5 million governmentally defined Charities and Non-Profits that most have some type of product being used as a fundraising vehicle. It was then, I began to think bigger, differently and it was this realization that led me to create Filanthropists.com…”because we all have things to buy and causes to support.”

In 2010, I officially launched Filanthropists.com. For the charitable consumer, Filanthropists.com serves as a one-stop online shopping mall for the purchase of cause-related products. The site features a variety of products from merchants and local and national organizations that are committed to the sale of these products to support fundraising efforts for their specific cause. Consumers have the ability to search by cause, product category and charity. Want to support the National Autism Association? Find the organization’s name under “Charity/Non-Profit” and you’ll see a handful of products that supports the cause. Looking for a handbag? Click on the “Handbags & Luggage” category to discover a large selection ranging from $10.00 to $250.00 supporting causes like human trafficking and women’s advancement programs in Tanzania. Feel like helping wildlife for a change? Select “Wildlife Conservation” under Causes, where items like sheep wool baby booties ($12) and hand-embroidered organic cotton napkins ($18) can be found which support the Snow Leopard Trust, the world’s leading authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard. In addition, consumers are provided definitions of the causes supporting the product. Do you know what Retinitis Pigmentosa is? You will when shopping for CDs on filanthropists.com.

In addition, you’ll also find a number of smaller, lesser-known organizations on Filanthropists.com, which offers these charities and non-profits an opportunity to sell their items without having to spend a lot on their own, thereby absorbing more of the donation from the sales of the products. The site also helps link those with products to sell with organizations needing an item, and vice versa.

Filanthropists.com also provides a space for people to share their causes with Faces of Filanthropists.com, where anyone, even those who don’t make a purchase, can name their cause/charity and then upload a photo of themselves to go along with their statement. It’s the site’s way of celebrating these individuals who have chosen to make a difference.

For charities / non-profits and product vendors, Filanthropists.com provides a way to engage in fundraising through e-commerce and as a way of finding like-minded partners with whom to explore and build business opportunities. Fundraising is accomplished through the shopping mall where cause-related products are showcased and sold. The “Unite” feature, a search enhanced social networking function, enables charitable organizations and product manufacturers to find each other. This function of the site is also offered free of charge to allow merchants to find the “right” nonprofit to align its product with and visa versa.

The organization’s name, is more than just a play on my name, Filomena and the word philanthropist, it’s a symbol of how the socially conscious individual can make a difference through the simplest of acts and how through buying a cause related product we can all be Filanthropists

Ultimately this journey, my journey which at first was so personal and only related to myself and my son; has now been expanded much because I came to the profound realization that for as much as I thought I had been; I found that I was not alone. So if I can bring something good, some learning, some lesson, some awareness to only one person or to the masses with the use of the tools which I have; the internet and my marketing skills, then I am called to do so. As Albert Einstein once said “the high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.”

For more information, please visit us online at www.filanthropists.com

- written by Filomena Laforgia, CEO of Filanthropists.com

Filomena Laforgia

Founder/CEO

201-264-1576

Fil at filanthropists.com

Web site: http://www.filanthropists.com

Facebook: filanthropists

Twitter: http://twitter.com/filanthropists

 
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