Balancing business and philanthropic goals may not be either-or
As an entrepreneur or small business owner first starting out, you may have the desire to make philanthropy a core principle of your business but feel you have to put that desire on hold until you earn more money.
But Vern Mangels believes you should not give in to that feeling. “You have to start with the intention that you are giving back from dollar one,” said Mangels, CEO and owner of the Anaheim RV Park, a family business that his grandfather started 61 years ago as Midway Trailer City. “Give back even when you don’t have much to give.”One route to merging business growth with giving
Since acquiring the family business 2009, Mangels, a Bank of the West client, has helped the park continue to thrive – taking steps such as changing the name so that travelers can find it through Google searches more readily, fostering a healthy partnership with nearby Disneyland, and renovating and adding spaces.
And, keeping true to his philosophy of giving since dollar one, all along he’s found ways to give to charities. For example, he partners with the Make a Wish Foundation to help children with life-threatening illnesses who want to go to Disneyland. To help, he donates RV space for families who prefer to camp at his park and participate in the Disney festivities. A retired sergeant for the La Habra Police Department, Mangels also supports the organization Cops for Kids, which fosters positive relationships among the police and community. Additionally, he is a member of FCCI, a faith-based organization that encourages and helps Christian business leaders operate their businesses and conduct their personal lives in accordance with the Bible.
On the business side his efforts have succeeded: Annual check-ins have grown from 3,500 RVs in 2009, the year that he acquired the park from family, to more than 8,500 last year, according to an Orange County Register article. And the park has won awards from the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, TripAdvisor.com, and GuestRated.com.
His philanthropic efforts have yielded results as well. In fact, he believes that the reason for his park’s success is that his team is a reflection of the ideals he lives by. Each of his staff members take customer service to heart – treating people with respect and providing the best service they can to his customers. Everyone gives 100%. Consequently, his staff is always highlighted in reviews of the park.
Now, looking forward to his own legacy, Mangels is starting a foundation to illustrate just how important giving back is and to help his two daughters stay involved in philanthropy. “I don’t want them just writing a check, for example, to a domestic violence shelter; I want them to really understand the needs of those people and help,” he said.Customizing your legacy
As Anaheim RV Park’s continuing success demonstrates, business owners and entrepreneurs do not have to sacrifice their business goals in order to achieve their philanthropic goals. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, as making philanthropy integral to your business may actually help it thrive, especially when it is time to pass on the business to future generations.
Business owners and philanthropists may achieve their philanthropic goals while growing their wealth through what Bank of the West calls “purpose-built philanthropy” – a deliberate and thoughtful approach that helps clients amplify their impact by combining the purpose behind their philanthropic activities with the deployment of capital in all aspects and areas of their lives. A key component is “purpose investing,” which includes impact investing, environmental and social governance (ESG), socially responsible investing (SRI), microfinance, social impact bonds, mission-related investments (MRIs) and program related investments (PRIs).
Purpose investments make up a for-profit investment approach that enables donors to align their entire investment strategies, or a portion of their portfolios, with their philanthropy. You can read about these key concepts in Bank of the West’s glossary of philanthropy services terms.
Whether you have inherited a family business that you want to make thrive or you are a business owner or entrepreneur who is starting a new endeavor, you may grow your family’s wealth while improving the world in the ways that matter to you most. As Vern says, it all starts with the intention to give back, and to want to do well so that you can give even more.