JOANNE JOHNSON, FOUNDER

JOANNE JOHNSON, FOUNDER

I have always been a ‘connector’.  

In conversations with people I would discover their needs and connect them to other friends that could help. Whether it was new jobs, advice, business partners or babysitters it seemed like I had a connection that could help.

In 2012 I visited India for the first time. I've been to many other developing countries and impoverished rural villages but something was different at this point in my life. I came home and did my normal ‘connecting’ thing. What I didn’t realize is how many people are looking for opportunities to express their generosity. How could this be true with the abundance of information available in our pockets? The question stirred inside me.

The average American gives less than 2% of their annual income to charity. But in my experience, I found sacrificial levels of generosity when people truly connected with a cause. It seemed there was some sort of disconnect between givers and the needs.  As I continued to research and interview people I discovered two primary barriers. First, we are overwhelmed by the explosion of causes and charities pursuing our attention. Second, we are fearful that our money will be wasted or mismanaged due to the frequent news stories about these occurrences.  Both barriers resist our natural generosity and trap us. “I just don’t have the time to do the research” or “How do I know that I am making a difference?” were two common frustrations expressed to me.  

I felt like I had clearly identified the problem, but what was the solution?

My friends would tell you that I never do anything alone, and they are mostly right. Two of my highest values are generosity and community. Whatever solution emerged would have to spring from these two passions in my life. It would need to be a community of generosity.

Give4 was born from this vision to mobilize generosity. It’s been a five-year journey of dreaming, planning, and educating. It is a community of like-minded ‘givers’. Some small and some large. I want to offer opportunities to this community to partner with great people and organizations that our community has uncovered. Some will be local and tiny with a great idea and heart behind them. Some may be global and expansive with meticulous management and vision to change the world. Others may simply have found a way to incorporate social or economic opportunity into their business model like Tom’s shoes.  I want to provide educational resources so we can all be smarter more responsible partners. I want to share stories of transformation that inspire.  Lastly, I want to offer help for the strategic giver to identify a perfect fit partner for long-term investment with measurable impact over years and decades as a catalyst for change.

The starting point for all of us is the question… "What do you give for?”

Maybe your answer is “Justice!”. Maybe someone had a significant impact on your life at a critical moment and you want to ‘give-back’. Maybe you just can’t close your eyes at night without seeing the orphan looking up from your arms. These are all great reasons! And there are many more. Once you’ve answered this core question for yourself then it’s just a matter of finding a cause that fits.

I believe God has given us all a heart of generosity. My desire is to unlock that generosity by connecting it with a passion.

I hope you will join our community of generosity and be sure to share with us “What you Give4...”


MORE ABOUT JOANNE...

Joanne has worked in philanthropy for 25 years assisting non-profits, individuals, and corporations. She envisioned Give4 five years ago with a passion to mobilize generosity and create community around giving. Joanne is a graduate of Westmont College with a B.A. in Communication Studies and has lived most of her life in Southern California, along with three years in Dubai, UAE. She has visited several countries around the globe, including India, Cambodia, Thailand, to name a few. She and her husband, along with their three children, live in Orange County, California.