Dave Mann: Mannkind Philanthropy
Smart, witty, down-to-earth and sophisticated, perfectly describe Dave Mann. When I first sat with Dave Mann, I was quite impressed with how he carried himself, quick on his feet; he was able to easily direct a large group of individuals busily working to establish a New Years Eve Gala event. He had at least 50 volunteers running around and doing what was needed for an event for a charity event. He is without ego and feels his work does not need publicity and only cares about its sole humanitarian incentive.
Dave Mann, a lower mainland entrepreneur, has established a non-profit organization called Mannkind Charitable Society (MKCS). This non-profit organization’s mission is to make the world a better place. In order to transform our global societies into liveable spaces for all, MKCS is involved with helping the environment and less fortunate children around the world. This organization came into full force in 2010. Philanthropy in general is all about making a positive difference in the world by devoting your resources and your time to causes you believe in. It is about supporting causes where “a lot of good comes from a little bit of good,” or, in other words, where the positive social returns vastly exceed the amount of time and money invested. Dave Mann’s MKCS epitomizes this philosophy.
Dave Mann spoke of how he lives in a comfortable home with his two boys and his loving wife. However he felt that he needed to give back to the community, and stop ignoring the individuals who are disenfranchised. He feels his ability as an immigrant in Canada and his opportunity to achieve financial success by working hard was momentous. “I had always heard footsteps emanating deep within my soul nudging me towards a life of giving. In the past, I was adept at ignoring them and justifying my ignorance of them with various excuses: “I am too busy”; “what difference can I make?”; “problems are too big”; “I am already doing more than my share”; and my personal favourite: “if everyone lived with my principles, there would be no problems on this earth.”
His pivotal moment came one morning as he was getting ready for work. Suddenly emotional, Dave had a realization that he was wasting whatever talent he had and was not being true to his inner self. “This realization scared me as I felt I had a great life, a job that I loved, a beautiful house, two handsome boys and a great wife. I tried to push this thought aside because acknowledging it would mean serious changes to my life of ease. Somehow this thought persisted and after taking off many layers of my ego and my programs, I have surrendered to a life of unfeigned humility and unconditional giving.”
Mannkind Charitable Society is involved in four major projects; one is providing free surgical procedures to children in India with physical disabilities, or deformities. The second is to help the environment, by planting trees in developing nations and in BC parks. The third project is helping orphans within impoverished parts of developing nations, such as India. The final project includes helping provide free food to the residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Dave Mann went into detail about each of his four projects that he has actively helped run with his team of board members. He discussed how he met with a group of street kids in India, and helped them get the accurate medical treatment needed in order for them to live a comfortable life. His team of medical professionals helped cure young children with physical deformities and children with other life altering health problems.
Dave Mann presented a touching story, where a 19 year old mother of two was granted free treatment for her cleft lip. This woman had endured many hardships at a young age, where she was left on the streets by her parents because of financial reasons; they could not afford to grant her the medical treatment that she needed. She then was forced to become a street child, where she begged for many years. However when she entered her early to mid teens, a man about 11 years older then her brought her in and gave her accommodation. Shortly after they got married and had two children. MKSC heard about her remarkable story and enabled her to undergo facial reconstructive surgery to her cleft lip. This new medical gift allowed her to become an even more beautiful woman. Her own husband was taken back from the beautiful transformation that his wife had undergone. Dave noted how it warms his heart knowing that one person, or a group of individuals can make a positive impact on a total stranger’s life.
“I was wasting whatever talent I had and was not being true to my inner self. This realization scared me as I felt I had a great life, a job that I loved, a beautiful house, two handsome boys and a great wife. I tried to push this thought aside because acknowledging it would mean serious changes to my life of ease. Somehow this thought persisted and after taking off many layers of my ego and my programs, I have surrendered to a life of unfeigned humility and unconditional giving.”
- Dave Mann
Besides granting free surgeries, MKSC have adopted international orphanages and help orphan children live a comfortable and happy life. Dave believes in running the orphanages like academies and taking the stigma out of the word “orphan”. “We want to provide not only shelter, clothing and food, but to provide healthcare, education, access to arts and athletic programs, jobs, and love. To raise children that will be well adjusted and contributing citizens of this planet. To perpetuate this wonderful gift for future generations to give and maintain.” Dave spoke of an orphanage called “Good Life Center” in Chenni, India that they have adopted 91 orphans, each of these children are given a place to be respectable members of society, where they can achieve their dreams.
Mannkind Charitable Society is also involved with tree planting and feeding the homeless. They have planted trees at a majority of Surrey’s Municipal Parks and along the Amritsar Highway in Jalandhar, Punjab. The City of Surrey works closely with MKSC when orchestrating these planting events throughout city parks, since there is a carnival like atmosphere, where children are involved with face painting and other fun community speeches, shows, and demonstrations.
The homeless neighbourhoods that MKCS concentrates on are found within Vancouver’s downtown east side, which have a national and continental wide reputation as being one of the poorest neighbourhoods in North America. MKCS works closely with United Church when helping Downtown Eastside residents. They help establish soup kitchens and food donations for the homeless and low-income residents of the community.
Much of the proceeds brought into the charity are done so by contacting local professionals who wish to grant a financial commitment to the cause. MKCS does not take pledges or establish huge fundraising events such as telethons, or runs/walks. Everything is done through contacting local businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs who are interested in endorsing the cause. These professionals are contacted through word of mouth connections.
James Randhawa, who is in charge of the administrative component of MKCS, noted the organization is run in a very egalitarian fashion. “We have a board, which includes key members that help run various sections of the organization. For example, Manvir Sidhu, who wears many different hats for MKCS is an active volunteer for the organization. Her duties tend to vary, but currently she is in charge of setting up décor for a gala event.”
Dave Mann is a remarkable and respected man. His efforts have shown the importance of giving back to the community and the numerous rewards you gain. His team of volunteers and board members show how they are actively committed to helping make a world a better place. Putting smiles on young children’s faces and making the environment a healthier place to live are important initiatives that these great people are pushing forward. Hopefully their great work will be recognized globally, and nationally. I feel that Dave Mann deserves receiving the “Order of Canada” or the “Order of British Columbia” for his great accomplishments in philanthropy. For more information on MKCS or to get involved in their philanthropic efforts visit their website at www.mannkindcharity.com.