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Homeless to Philanthropist: Don't Ever Give Up

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Would you ever think that someone you see sleeping on the streets would one day become an angel investor, a philanthropist?

That's exactly the case with Brandolon Barnett, who from 2008 through 2013 was hit hard by the Great Recession, struggled to find work and was forced to search the streets of San Francisco for a place to sleep.

But today he is head of corporate social responsibility industry solutions in’s philanthropy cloud, and leader of the Democratize Ventures investing and advisory institute. He is the epitome of that age old advice: Don't ever give up.

Barnett has promoted development and volunteerism on three continents, led the Bill and Melinda Gates-funded Growfund donor-advised fund effort, and participated in research and consulting engagements at the Council on Foundations and Global Impact.

His LinkedIn profile says he’s an "Angel Investor through Democratize Ventures, an Agent of Change Creating a World where Philanthropy Belongs to Everyone. Showing Social Impact can Happen Anywhere."

Barnett also is author of "Dreams Deferred: Recession, Struggle, and the Quest for a Better World", a facilitator of partnerships for community good, and our guest on The Lean to the Left Podcast.

Here are some of the questions he answers in this episode:

  1. You were once on the streets. Today, you’re involved with corporate philanthropy. What happened?

  2. What is it that you’re doing?

  3. Are you helping Black entrepreneurs raise money? Training? How?

  4. Exactly what is Sales You are director of Corporate Social Responsibility Industry Solutions there.

  5. What’s your view regarding progress being made for minority business entrepreneurs?

  6. What advice to you give these individuals as they embark on their journey?

  7. How have the experiences of those tough times informed your own work today?

  8. Has racism in this country worsened or improved in the past few years?

  9. What factors have contributed to this?

  10. Tell us more about your book.

Listen here:

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Complete video interview here:

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