Askinosie Inspires CFO Agency Partners

Springfield chocolate maker Shawn Askinosie urged nonprofit leaders to help “write a new story” of how nonprofits and for-profits can work together to improve society.

As the keynote speaker at the CFO’s 2013 Agency Partner thank-you luncheon Tuesday at the White River Conference Center, Askinosie referenced a controversial opinion piece that appeared recently in The New York Times by Peter Buffet, son of legendary businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffet. In the column titled “The Charitable-Industrial Complex,” Peter Buffet coined the term “philanthropic colonialism” to describe what he considers an antiquated approach to charitable giving.

Askinosie says he has tried to help write the new story by pairing his for-profit business venture, Askinosie Chocolate, with his philanthropic interests for maximum impact in the places he’s working in Africa and the Philippines.

His business venture of purchasing beans to create artisan chocolate is helping producers in those countries become more self-sufficient. Meanwhile, his Chocolate University philanthropic fund through the CFO helps support student scholarships for trips to Africa. The students raise money and develop projects such as supplying books to schools and loading lessons onto the first computers to ever be used by students in the local schools where he does business.

During the luncheon in which the CFO’s nonprofit partners are recognized for new fund development and awarded grants to help them build endowments and improve technology, Askinosie challenged the nonprofits to look for business partners who can help them extend their missions through both financial support as well as opportunities for meaningful volunteer experiences for employees.

“They have a pent-up passion and need to give and they just don’t know how to do it,” he said.