One Hundred New Philanthropists: Ryan Slusarzyk


Ryan, one of our youngest One Hundred New Philanthropists, is discovering the world of philanthropy and recently joined Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Advisory Council for a two-year term. The Council helps the Board of Trustees promote the Community Foundation to build a younger, more diverse donor base for future major and planned gifts. Ryan supports a variety of local causes—often those where he volunteers. He admits that his giving habits were somewhat sporadic, but are becoming more defined. “My giving is really directed at three components, some which overlap: children, health and education. All the organizations I give to incorporate at least one of those components. To me, this is the biggest need and most important need. Children are our future and truly need the right foundation to grow and have a bright future.”

What do you get from giving?

“I give for the sole reason of helping others. Not to be recognized, praised or rewarded, but to know that I am somehow making a difference in someone’s life. But the feeling you get from giving—it gives a sense of worth and purpose, probably greater than anything I’ve ever felt. It is an emotion that is somewhat indescribable, yet entirely rewarding. I was taught to help others who can’t help themselves, and my mother always said, ‘If it doesn't hurt a little, then you didn't give enough.’"   

Why do you support Grand Rapids Community Foundation?

“I support Grand Rapids Community Foundation because of what it stands for and the bravery, positive attitude and continued leadership that the Community Foundation brings to our community. I have faith in the Community Foundation and the staff, knowing they want to make this area better and that community needs do not go unnoticed.”