By day, Joshua Schwartz is a project manager for TargetX, a higher education technology company; by night (at least some of them), he’s an adjunct professor at two different colleges.
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Joshua is passionate about education: “I am a huge believer in education and life-long learning,” he says. I believe every person, young or old, can learn something new every day – and should equally be offered the opportunity to do so.”
Joshua, now pursuing an Ed.D., started his higher education at Montgomery County Community College as an older adult student, and is particularly inspired by the mission and philosophy of community colleges.
“Even after graduating from Montgomery County Community College I remained involved. I wanted to ensure every person that I could help would receive the same opportunity to a college education that I received,” Joshua explains. “I decided to get involved because I know how life changing a community college can be – and the impact they have not just on a student, but on that students’ family too.”
You could say Joshua puts his money where his mouth is, since he’s donated funds to support student scholarships – or, in some cases, even form them – through both the Montgomery County Community College Foundation and the Schenectady County Community College Foundation.
Joshua also counts the American Cancer Society, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and the New England Aquarium among causes he supports.
“The American Cancer Society is huge for me,” Joshua says. “I’m a cancer survivor, so I know firsthand the support the ACS offers to survivors and their families.”
Joshua’s support of ACS goes beyond financial contributions. “Back in 2011, I was named the American Cancer Society’s Rookie of the Year for the Northeast PA Region for my contributions in chairing the most successful first-year community college Relay for Life in the country. In a matter of four months, we raised over $28,000 for the ACS. I have lost too many friends and family to cancer, so the ACS holds a very special place in my heart.”
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation also hits home for Joshua.
“As a member of the LBGTQ community, I feel every person deserves to have basic equal rights. This organization has done a lot for the LBGTQ community in advocating and educating individuals, corporations, and even local, state, and federal governments on the importance of ensuring all people are treated equally. I back this organization because I know there’s still so much additional work that needs to be done.”
And the New England Aquarium?
“I walked in as a tourist and fell in love,” Joshua explains. “I could spend hours there (and have), but learning the impact they play on research and the programs they offer in educating our youth inspired me to generously donate to this organization.”
The aquarium also has a lot of penguins, which Joshua happens to love.
“I know it won’t happen, but I secretly hope one day they name a penguin after me,” he jokes.
What’s Joshua’s advice for millennials looking to start giving back, but in search of the right cause for them?
“Remember your roots in life,” he says. “Remember what brought you to be the person you are today — be it your high school, religious institution, or an organization that offered you or your family support. Donate time, resources, or monetary support to organizations that mean something to you – you’ll know in your heart which is the right organization.”
Joshua also recommends paying attention to family and friends’ passions. “If you see a friend or family member posting something on Facebook, or whatever social media outlet, reach out to them. Find out more about their organization, and learn why it matters to them,” Joshua suggests. You may find that it speaks to you, too.
“As millennials, we have the power to make such an amazing impact in our community today, tomorrow, and a year from now,” Joshua says. He encourages our generation to draw on their time, talent, and financial resources to give back now. “The reward is a personal feeling that never gets old.”