Mark Scott of Kaufman Rossin talks about his involvement with The Miami Foundation, an organization for people who are passionate about making the city of Miami a better place to live, for each and every resident in every local community.
Tell us a bit more about The Miami Foundation.
The Miami Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created philanthropic funds. We address all sorts of needs of the Miami community to develop a resilient city and to enhance quality of life for everyone who lives here. It is a unique concept, as the foundation gives around $50 million a year to organizations in all areas, including the homeless, youth, education programs, resiliency initiatives, parks, women and children, LGBTQ, African-American communities, disabled populations, animal rescue, and many more. As of the third quarter of 2018, the foundation had given $41 million in donations to these and other projects.
Each year on November 15, we coordinate Give Miami Day to raise funds to support local organizations. Donors choose what causes they want to support and donate directly to them. In this way, The Miami Foundation serves to advance the causes most important to the local community. This year, over 700 organizations are participating in Give Miami Day. No donation is too small when we all participate! Give Miami Day is also a great opportunity to teach children about giving: show them the list of organizations and ask them to choose one they would like to support. Help them get involved from an early age to show the impact of communities working together toward common goals.
What is your role with this organization and how did you come to hold that position?
I am the Chair of the Development Committee of The Miami Foundation Board of Trustees, and an advisor to the LGBTQ Community Fund. I started my community involvement back in 2001, and have been active in some way since then. I have always sought out leadership roles where I felt I could effect the most impactful change. I volunteered with several organizations through the years, gaining exposure in the local business and philanthropic communities. Some of these organizations were supported by The Miami Foundation so the foundation was familiar with my work; eventually they approached me with an opportunity to join their board. I am honored to serve the foundation and hope to continue to lead and advance our causes.
How has Kaufman Rossin contributed to your success with this organization?
It’s interesting because so many of my colleagues are involved with organizations that are supported by The Miami Foundation, so in a way we are all connected. The firm as a whole is a strong supporter of community involvement and grants us a platform to promote our causes internally through our monthly jeans day fundraisers. In addition, Kaufman Rossin employees participate in Give Miami Day and are able to choose a project or organization that resonates with them.
What is your advice for others who are thinking about getting involved in the community?
You have to find one thing you’re passionate about, whether that’s a professional or philanthropic organization. My career in public accounting leaves little time for much else; if you also have chosen a challenging path, whatever time you have is valuable so volunteering has to be meaningful to you. Are you interested in working or fundraising? Most professional organizations are looking for members to help run the operation, while philanthropic ones need volunteers to run the fundraising arm of the organization. Know the difference and understand what you’re signing up for.
Once you have decided where you want to get involved, I think it’s very important to commit at least five years to that organization. Spend the first year getting to know other members, attend meetings, listen and learn everything you can. If you have a good understanding of how things work, you can start to think about how to add value and what you can bring to the table.
For me, the most rewarding part of volunteering is getting to celebrate the success of these programs. It feels good! In a world that can often seem divided, it is encouraging to see all we truly have in common and how much can get done when we work together.