Marcos Lopez, Founder & CEO
Marcos Lopez serveson two boards: The United Way and Social Venture Partners (SVP). The United Ways goal is to eradicate inter-generational poverty in the greater Philadelphia region. The reason that he initially joined was because the CEO of The United Way was looking to change the demographic. As an entrepreneur of a diverse background, Marcos thought he would be able to bring valuable insight. He was hesitant at first, knowing that The United Way is a prestigious board, but those apprehensions soon vanished when he realized how passionate he was about the vision and mission.
When asked why the mission was powerful to him, Marcos said that he didn’t realize how high the numbers of poverty are in Philadelphia before he joined the organization. While he never lived in poverty himself and didn’t have to go through the challenges of not having a home or going hungry, he did grow up in a lower income household. From this, Marcos could understand how difficult it can be for someone who can’t even depend on the basic necessities: food, clothes, a bed to sleep in, etc. Through joining the board, Marcos realized the severity of the issue and discovered his passion for wanting to make a change. “The fact that we sit back and say that unemployment is at an all-time low is nonsense because people are having to work two and three jobs just to make ends meet. You can be working and still live in poverty and that’s not okay. There aren’t as many opportunities as there should be for people to earn a living wage and to take care of their family.”
While he is not on a particular committee for The United Way, Marco is a founding partner of Social Venture Partners, an offshoot of The United Way. SVP was created to bring like-minded individuals who are proactive, innovative, and entrepreneurial outside of the United Way but share a connection like a shared vision to help their mission. He is on several committees of SVP, including the Program and Grant Committee, the Recruitment and Membership Committee and the Marketing Committee. Marcos says that the whole idea is not to solely give money and let someone else take care of the problem, but rather “you are donating time, passion, innovation, creativity, and knowledge. You are giving so much more than just a monetary contribution, and this is what is required to fix this problem”.
When asked what his main reason for joining a board was, Marcos said, “the most important thing in a person’s life should not be making money. It should be participating in the community that they live in.” He believes that it is vital for everyone to do something that they are passionate about and there is usually something that inspires people to give more of themselves. When people find their cause, they grow personally, professionally, and feel more connected to both the overall community and individuals there. Marcos said that he hopes to see the philanthropists who are already giving to give more – money, time, knowledge or efforts – and for corporate partners to focus as much on fixing the community that they live and work in as they do in increasing profits.