Impact. Purpose. These are the goals, right?

These intrinsic motivating factors are responsible for determining our happiness in everything we do. In fact, studies say whether we realize it or not, these factors are significantly more important than how much money we make or even the status we maintain.

It is for this reason it’s amazing when a young executive steps outside the bounds of normalcy to create a prodigious opportunity to give back to the world.

I would call it magnanimous, but the definition of that word – “very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself” – implies those being given are less powerful.

And that is exactly the opposite of what Chris Lyons of Andreessen Horowitz (one of the world’s top venture firms) believes. He knows if those less fortunate have access to technology and education, they will contribute back to our world and make it a better place.

So he’s decided to give it to them… By tapping into his network and raising money from several African American celebrities, including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Shonda Rhimes, Will and Jada Smith, Quincy Jones, Kevin Durant, Chance the Rapper, Nas, and many more to start a venture fund under the Andreesssen Horowitz umbrella.

The new fund, aptly named the Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF), has two goals –

  1. Connect the greatest cultural leaders in the world to the best new technology companies
  2. Enable more young African Americans to enter the technology industry

These leaders may be able to get into venture deals on their own accord, but what’s different about CLF is –

a) they get to do it together

b) all of the fees and carry associated with the fund will be donated to non-profit organizations that enable African Americans to enter the technology industry.

What an incredible way to give back from a company who has successfully invested in Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Lyft, Instacart, Groupon, Slack, and many more.

It’s rare to be able to afford give at this magnitude, and even more special Andreessen Horowitz would take advantage of the ability to do so!

Chris is an incredible leader. He didn’t start the company – He’s been Ben Horowitz’s Chief of Staff for over five years. He saw an opportunity to combine culture and philanthropy with what Andreessen Horowitz does best: investing.

The result: impact.

This venture is surely only the first step in Chris’ larger vision to connect all walks of life. We can’t rely on government to do this for us. It’s entrepreneurial insight and fortitude which can bridge the gap to foster extraordinary opportunity for the next generation.

All great projects require a team. All great teams need a leader. And all great ideas are birthed from the mind of just one person.

As you read this, let Chris’ determination be an indication of what any individual is capable of… What you are capable of!

Every year for his birthday, Chris uses his birthday to help build a home in Haiti. Today is the big day, so if you’re in the mood to give back, you can do so here as I just have. Happy birthday Chris!

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