Monday, April 23 , 2018, 7:46 pm | Fair 55º


Philanthropy: The Next Generation

Justin Michael and Patrick Dietzen are paving the way for the future of Santa Barbara nonprofits

“I am 29 and have raised 70k for charity,” Justin Michael, who sits on the Board of Directors for Unity Shoppe, says philosophically. UCSB entrepreneur poster-child Patrick Dietzen, his boss at Let’s Cram, an eEducation startup setting the benchmark for free education in America, quips, “I will often allow Justin to focus some of his workday on nonprofit initiatives as I believe it’s a valuable way to give back to the community.”

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Santa Barbara executives Justin Michael and Patrick Dietzen want to get their generation interested in taking an active role in philanthropy. (Bethany Brown photo)
Both Santa Barbara executives were born in 1980, representing a Generation Y that is beginning to take an active role in ushering in the next generation of philanthropy.

“I met Justin Michael at a masquerade ball fundraiser for Red Cross on the roof of the Andalucia that was spectacular, and hired him in a heartbeat to lead the grassroots marketing efforts at my company.”

Michael has been featured in the media for being one of the youngest to singlehandedly found a charity series, titled Mazque, raising tens of thousands for local causes. He caught the eye of Tom Reed, executive director of the Unity Shoppe.

With the baby-boom generation retiring, many executive positions in the nonprofit sector are becoming empty. It’s a hot issue, especially as cash is increasingly tight.

How will Santa Barbara transition into the next generation of philanthropy as children inherit the wealth? Michael and Dietzen are paving the way for the future of Santa Barbara nonprofits.

“You could volunteer your time or take a pay cut to sit in an executive position coming right out of college,” Dietzen said. “With the economic climate as it is, however, we sense there is just not enough visibility for the local causes to get qualified members of my generation interested in taking an active role. We’d like to change that.”

Dietzen’s investors support a culture in the company of giving back to the community and lending a helping hand. Together, the young executives have pooled their resources dedicated to changing the world.

“We encourage the local press to really feature this news story and interview other examples of Gen Y in the nonprofit sector, as it will shine an important spotlight on where SB is going,” Dietzen said. “As a local, I grew up with Earth Day and a world awareness. Santa Barbara is the mecca of world charity with over 1,500 nonprofits.

“We need better heroes than Paris Hilton, and we need to become those heroes as we inherit the world.”

Justin Michael and Patrick Dietzen are philanthropists, and represent Let’s Cram, an eEducation startup.

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