“By giving, I’ve received more than I could ever have imagined.” Rod Mickels doesn’t measure his success by the awards or accolades he’s earned in his career; instead, Rod measures his success by the smiles and hugs he gets whenever he visits Africa. To see how far some of the kids have come over the last several years is tremendously rewarding. Rod has always believed in sharing his good fortune with others—it’s something he’s deeply passionate about. Philanthropy is a foundational principle of InVision, the communications company Rod co-founded in 1991. As CEO, he has guided his company from a handful of employees to 130+ people, with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago and New York. In addition to heading up The Giving Exchange, Rod serves on the board for the Cancer Support Community and donates time and energy to causes including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the California Symphony Board to name a few.
“With The Giving Exchange, we are sowing and watering seeds. I’m looking forward to the day when the seeds grow into trees and bear fruit.” Africa holds a big piece of Alissa’s heart. While working in Kenya in 2001, she developed a deep affection and respect for its people. “I love the people and admire their ability to love unconditionally, finding happiness in the small things regardless of their circumstances.” Although Alissa practices international law and is a member of the California, District of Columbia and Paris Bar Associations, she considers her work with The Giving Exchange and other non-profit organizations her true calling. Social responsibility is an essential part of her practice, so she volunteers her services to many non-profits including Amnesty International, Droit d’Urgence (legal aid), Hastings Refugee & Human Rights Clinic and the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (immigration clinic). Alissa’s involvement in Africa has taught her that regardless of what you do in life, what matters most is that you share your love with others.
“It’s a deeply humbling experience to help children of profound need and hardship. They have been through unspeakable tragedies and yet, here they are, singing.” Jim Carlin has always been a giver—volunteering his time for inner city outreach programs, spearheading a nursing home visitation program, serving on the board of a private Christian school, and even acting as an assistant football coach for the local college. It’s in his nature to inspire people, helping them reach their fullest potential. Jim was deeply moved by the harsh realities he witnessed in Nairobi: mazes of tin shacks with dirt floors; no access to fresh, clean water; overwhelming poverty. Everywhere he looked, orphaned children were suffering from hunger, HIV and other diseases. Jim was devastated, but he refused to give up hope. “With The Giving Exchange, we are meaningfully participating and actively engaged in helping people of profound need and hardship. I know that all we do goes directly to helping them. Giving hope and sharing our love with these communities is the greatest reward of all.” Serving justice and affirming human dignity has always been important to Jim. Throughout his long career as a trial lawyer in Iowa, and today as a Senator for District 3 in the Iowa State Senate, Jim cultivates positive change by empowering individuals and the communities in which they live.
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