In this episode, Lindsay sits down with her cousin Michaela — a keystone millennial engaged in doing good while having fun — for a human story.

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How this generation uses community engagement and philanthropy to drive their goals and social activities

“Part of our DNA and our role on this earth is to take off the blinders in order to look around and spend time with other individuals.” Click To Tweet

Last week we talked about micro-donations, instant gratification behavioral trends and the reality of our uber-connected world. With the great transfer of wealth, millennials are revolutionizing philanthropy. This generation is finding ways to integrate volunteerism into their lifestyle for ways to pass the time, for corporate team-building and for metric-driven PBs (personal bests). This generation sees itself as a teammate in the fight for change. They co-own hopes, goals, and visions for individuals, communities and, ultimately, the course of history. These ideals paired with rally-cries for engagement are sure to shape social, environmental, racial, and political spheres as the next wave of humanity’s majority generation.  

In this episode, Lindsay sits down with her cousin Michaela — a keystone millennial engaged in doing good while having fun — for a human story. They talk about ideals, motivations and peer behaviors relating to volunteer engagement, shifts since Covid-19, corporate employee engagement and micro-acts of kindness. 

Michaela Colbert is the Vice President of Life Sciences and Healthcare at Silicon Valley Bank. Growing up, her family made sure she was connected with her community, which resulted in the awareness of her own privilege, deep empathy for others, and a passionate desire to take action whenever needed. Fueled by her family’s credos and her own aspirations, she volunteers and fundraises for causes that motivate her mind, body and spirit. 

Are all millennials caring, giving and willing to impact the world for good? Who’s to say, but those who are, are outspokenly cheerleading the way. The question is, how do we engage them and keep them engaged for years to come? 

In this episode, Lindsay and Michaela chat about this generation’s magnetism to philanthropy, why virtual events are (and will stay) so effective for organizations, and the importance of the corporate volunteer and giving opportunities. Tune in for a personal perspective demonstrating millennials at their best. This is an enjoyable conversation that will inspire adoration for this demographic!

“I think my peers have a really intense desire to play a big role in philanthropy and the community, but don’t always know how to.” Click To Tweet


Key Takeaways: 

(02:08) – How Michaela’s upbringing transformed her into a passionate and conscious leader of her generation. 

(07:51) – Is kindness a common value among millennials? How the genuine wish to make a difference motivates individuals to impact their communities in creative ways.

(10:28)  – Passion is a vehicle for philanthropy: falling in love with a cause and finding the right organization.

(18:56) – How the migration to virtual models has transformed frameworks, boosted creativity, and led to more honest and genuine conversations within the nonprofit ecosystem.

(25:41) – A work-life integration: a model for corporate encouragement of service as an employee retention strategy.

(32:03) – When in doubt, plan it out: how nonprofits can keep the virtual lifestyle sustainable and relevant in the uncertainty of COVID-19 with a calendar of events shared with engaged volunteers to opt into for long term commitment.

Connect with Michaela

Connect through LinkedIn

Episode Resources

American Cancer Society

Swim Across America

Silicon Valley Bank’s Values

InnerCity Weightlifting

The Seven Faces of Philanthropy by Russ Alan Prince


Michael’s brother Matt’s “Internal Health Check” from a CSER standpoint

Our Cook cousins’ organic farm in Maine: Skylandia Farms

Our cousin Rivera Sun’s social justice best selling books (acclaimed as a must read for youth in National Geographic, July 2020; and Silver Nautilus Award, recipient May 2020)

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

UCSF Medical Center