MAY Member Spotlight

Meet Joseph D’Souza
Senior Vice President
The Able Trust

Joseph D’Souza is the Senior Vice President for The Able Trust where he interacts and collaborates with a variety of partners, community organizations and other stakeholders that focus on employing Floridians with disabilities. D’Souza has more than ten years’ experience with The Able Trust managing programs including Disability Employment Awareness Month, Internship Business Training and the statewide program for students with disabilities — High School High Tech. D’Souza worked with various nonprofit organizations before joining The Able Trust and he holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Florida State University.

What is your involvement with Florida Philanthropic Network? What influenced you to join?

"I participate in the Florida Education Funders group as often as possible. I was able to attend the most recent Summit and plan to attend next year’s as well. Several members of our staff, past and current, have been a part of FPN and had only good things to say about it. They did not sell it short. I enjoy and value being a member."

    Name one thing you find special about the Florida philanthropic community.

    "Florida truly is a unique state. Each part is so very different from the others, but the community is so willing to share their ideas and experiences to help each other. This sharing of real-life learning not only helps us to avoid pitfalls in our own work, but also helps to connect with other resources or experts from around the State. I myself have reached out to some members of the Education Funders Group for recommendations for consultants."

    Are there any partnerships or collaborations you have found most meaningful to you in the last year?

    "The most exciting and meaningful collaboration effort The Able Trust had last year was with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations. We have worked with their members on our signature youth program High School High Tech for years, but now we have a partnership directly with CFEF to provide opportunities for students with disabilities throughout Florida. We had an amazing launch, and I can’t see how it develops from here."

    What's the biggest challenge you've faced with your philanthropic efforts? How have you overcome them?

    "Choosing good partners is always tricky. I go into conversations as transparently as possible, so a potential partner knows what our goal is or what we are hoping to achieve. It doesn’t always work out that way. I don’t let a dark cloud hang over me when that happens though; one misalignment doesn’t mean it’ll happen again."

    What fuels your cup – in life and at work?

    "At work, it’s really seeing the small and incremental growth with our programs; more students being served, a new partnership, and increases in our social media followers are some of those small wins. In life, it’s making sure I take the time to find enjoyment—weekly trivia, traveling, spending time with my wife, getting outside."

    Can you share one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a career in philanthropy?

    "Two parts: first, go for it! Second, listening is the most important skill to develop to be successful. You need to learn how to really listen to your stakeholders, your constituents and your staff. Each of them will tell you important parts of the same story that will help you advance your mission."

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