Jeremy and Liz Hitchcock see a natural affinity between entrepreneurial endeavors and nonprofit organizations:
Both tend to be powered by people who want to solve problems, who see possibilities, who believe they can change the world.
The place where nonprofits and entrepreneurs come together is, in Jeremy Hitchcock’s words, “where the dreamers hang out.”
The Hitchcocks are not your typical thirtysomethings.
Jeremy and Liz met at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. While at WPI, Jeremy and three classmates founded Dyn, a cloud-based internet performance company with headquarters in Manchester and offices around the world.
Dyn works to make its community better, from creating jobs to supporting community efforts through philanthropy and volunteering.
Jeremy, Dyn’s CEO, grew up in Manchester and attended West High School. The Hitchcocks’ Manchester home is just a twenty-minute walk from Dyn headquarters.
Both are members of the Entrepreneurs’ Fund of New Hampshire, an initiative of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
EFNH, Jeremy said, is great way for people to become involved in philanthropy “at the beginning of their professional lives.”
The Hitchcocks also have a donor-advised fund at the Charitable Foundation. The Hitchcock Family Fund was a way to involve their children — 6-year-old Matthew, 4-year-old Catherine and 2-year-old Benjamin — in philanthropy as early as possible.
The family visits the Foundation together to learn about organizations working in New Hampshire communities and make decisions about giving. Jeremy and Liz have conversations with the kids beforehand, and Foundation staff lay the groundwork, sharing stories about local needs in kid-friendly terms. And then Liz, Jeremy and the kids talk about what’s most important, letting the children take the lead. The kids tend to focus on helping other kids. Last year, Matthew asked “what about the kids without beds to sleep in?” The family recommended a grant to Families in Transition to help those kids.
And, through the month of December, the Hitchcocks have a “day of giving” each Friday, bringing food and donations to the New Hampshire Food Bank and other community organizations. Liz said that, as the kids get older, the family will also do direct service — volunteering together at local nonprofits.
“I thought it was really important to get the entire family involved,” said Liz. “So they have the perspective,” added Jeremy. “So as they grow up, it is part of the fabric of what they do. I hope that it gives them an insight to the larger community that they live in and the impacts that they can have.”
Because they’ll be the next generation of dreamers.
This article was updated in January of 2016. A version of this article appeared in our 2013 Spring/Summer Purpose Newsletter.