Matt Coulter; The Young and Brave Foundation
I met Matt while celebrating my hair salon's anniversary (I know that sounds weird), but it's an absolutely epic place built by dreamers. Anyways, while chatting we brushed over the "what do you do?" type questions. There is something so cool about people who are following their passions and dreams, because there's just a light in their eyes when they answer that question. Matt told me about the amazing
he began, which helps support children and young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer. He recalled the day he left his high paying job in Real Estate, to work full time for the foundation. It honestly gave me chills, that step requires a lot of bravery, courage, and one big leap of faith.
When you were little what did you want to do/be? How has that changed?
"This may sound weird but I always have looked at myself as an artist. Problem is I never found my medium. No music skills, I got kicked outta music class the first day of middle school."
"My drawing game stops with stick figures and I'm an amazing dancer with a few cocktails or so I've been told. This led me to believe that I must be something other than an artist. I never pursued it. But this all changed with The Young and Brave Foundation. It was my canvas. Cheesy but true. All of a sudden I had complete control, creative control over a brand, better yet a movement. At the tender age of 29 with a striving career in commercial real estate I found myself day dreaming about what the foundation could be. I may have lost my way for a bit but finally I had found my passion."
When did the Young and Brave idea come to you?
"The idea of the foundation happened organically. When my business partners girlfriend at the time was diagnosed with leukemia at 26 years old we were forced to face the realities of cancer first hand. Immediately realizing the lack of resources for the individuals and families dealing with cancer we knew we had to more, much more. Not only help our loved one but all the loved ones. One person turned into 3 which turned into 15 which is now at 30+. We streamline the fundraising process for all of our families, from Brooklyn to Hawaii and everywhere in between. We are at the tip of the iceberg and hope to keep all of our momentum moving forward."
What was the biggest challenge in the beginning?
I remember when we met how you talked about your Real Estate job, and how differently you
talked about The Young And Brave. How hard was that to follow your dream/passion, and leave R
"I think the first 48hrs I was thinking "what the hell did I just do?!?" I left a career, portfolio and many clients behind. Something I had been working on for the better part of a decade. I will tell you this though... Being talented at something you don't like is one of the worst feelings. I grew up in the real estate business. I didn't know anything else. I made great money, had great toys but zero passion. I WORKED, WORKED and WORKED. I had zero passion, but I was damn good at it. But ya know I hit my alarm clock at least 3 times a day and couldn't wait for 5pm. Doing the foundation full time, is stressful and consuming. But ya know I haven't used my alarm clock once since the day I left real estate and for that I am forever grateful."
How’d you come up with the name?
"The name was a bit of back and forth but it came down to identifying who we wanted our foundation to help, that was all of the young and brave. We never the wanted the foundation to be about us. We wanted it to be about the community we were building. Something that people could believe in, something that people could be proud of and want to be a part of."
What was that day like when you decided to leave?
"The day I quit lasted about 48hrs. Second guessed myself for leaving money and security on the table. I laugh now and how scared I was, how comfortable I was. Nothing good ever came from comfort zones. I haven't looked back once."
What was the most difficult part about leaving your former job and being full time for The Young
"Leaving money, comfort and my toys. In just like anyone I like nice things and toys but that stuff became the focus not the buy product. In that lies the problem.
People chase stuff not passion.
If you are truly passionate about something and 100% commit to it there is no failure and I'm willing to bet you'll never look back."
What’s been a moment for you with The Young And Brave, where you thought, wow, we’ve
really built something here? Proudest moment?
"I don't think we are there yet. When I saw "we" I'm including my business partner Nathaniel Curran. I will say though there have been a few conversations and emails along the way that make us feel like we are on the right path. We feel blessed to have connected with so many amazing humans that have helped us beyond measure. We are motivated daily by each and everyone of these connections."
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
"Most of what you feel is in your own head, so don't over think it. And always, always trust your gut."
Speaking of advice, what would you tell others who are wanting to follow their passion?
"If you're not chasing your passion, you are wasting your time. If you love something figure out a way to be the best at it. Never make decisions based on money and never let money be the focus let it be the by product. Oh and probably the most important is learn how to put smart, hungry and passionate people around you each and everyday."
Any favorite mantras or quotes that keep you going?
"Only compete with yourself."
How would you love to see The Young and Brave grow in the next few years?
"The foundation will be global, built on community, and positively impacting the the lives of millions of people of all races, creeds, and religions. With everything relying on the power of LOVE."
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