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It's a Given

Success means nothing to these charitable entrepreneurs unless they're giving back.

Online advertising agency Vantage Media has already rewritten the rules for internet search-based online advertising. Now the company's savvy founders, brothers Todd and Mark Dipaola, 28 and 30, respectively, are out to change the way entrepreneurs view philanthropy. To start, they put their money where their mouths are. In 2006, four years after starting El Segundo, California-based Vantage Media from scratch, they set aside several million dollars as an initial endowment for their new charitable venture, the Dipaola Foundation.

Million-dollar endowments are not in every company's budget, but Todd says it's important to get the philanthropic ball rolling by setting aside a portion of your profits each year. "A foundation is an ideal vehicle for lifelong giving," says Todd. "It enables single-year tax deductions to grow through investment and be gifted at the pace we set."

The brothers hope that other entrepreneurs will follow their lead and devote more of their profits to philanthropic causes. Their message? Find a way to change the world beyond running your business. "Business doesn't begin and end with the almighty buck," says Todd. "There is a much more important system of relationships that we serve; our employees, customers, clients, suppliers and even the homeless guy I pass on the way to work are interrelated in the big picture."

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This article was originally published in the February 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: It's a Given .

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