Smart Philanthropy

Jul 1, 2024

Scott Lamson, a Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Advisor, shares strategies for creating a philanthropic plan that aligns with your values and financial goals.

Hosted by Chris Evert



Welcome to Episode 9 of What Moves You, an audio miniseries from Morgan Stanley in support of the WTA. I’m Chris Evert.

In this set of episodes with Morgan Stanley private wealth advisor, Scott Lamson, we’re looking at how you set yourself up as the CEO of your own business, and build a professional organization to support you through your whole career. 



Hi I'm Scott Lamson and I'm a Morgan Stanley private wealth advisor and a Global Sports and Entertainment Director.


People sometimes think you need to have a lot of money to be philanthropic. But I found that as a professional tennis player, I was actually in a unique position to give back in many different ways. Sometimes it was with money, but not always.



As you progress in your career, you’re gonna receive many requests and invitations to support philanthropic causes, and oftentimes financially. And it can be difficult to know how to respond when you’re busy focusing on your tennis game.

So start by figuring out which causes matter to you. And there are so many worthy causes out there, so it does require some reflection, discussions with family, and it’s going to evolve over time.

And we generally see athletes start with, “How can I help my local community? Can I help inspire young people in my community to play sports and see the benefits of playing sports? Can I host an event in my hometown by coming out and just teaching people how to hit a tennis ball?” That’s a true form of philanthropy.

And so as your career develops and you’re in a position to give money to causes, you’ll want to think carefully about your budget and set up some guidelines with your team. And maybe you allocate a certain amount, you know, to your main cause or causes each year. And then set aside a smaller amount of money for those sort of one-off requests that come in.

And one thing that’s really important to highlight for athletes — don't feel like you need to carry the entire burden of helping an organization.

You know, I remember, a couple years ago there was an athlete who was trying to help his local high school that was struggling financially. And his advisors told him, ‘hey, this is unsustainable for you to keep giving this amount of money each year.’ And so we came up with the idea of instead of just having money that you give directly to the high school, why don't we host an event and you can actually bring in your partners, bring other donors to the event. And he did that, and he was actually able to raise more money through hosting the event than he was giving to the school in the first place. And now it's a recurring event that helps the school long term and it’s much more sustainable. And the athlete, instead of having to give his money directly, is using his voice and his platform to amplify the cause.

One of the greatest things about being an athlete and CEO of your own business — you have partners. So how do you leverage those partnerships for some of your philanthropic causes? One possibility is that in every endorsement deal you do, you can build in a simple clause that says, “I want to partner with you and I want this corporation to support a couple charities that matter to me.” It doesn’t have to be a huge dollar amount, but over time it does have a big impact.

And remember, it’s not just about money - you can be philanthropic with your time. And that may be hard as an athlete when you're traveling so much and have very limited free time as it is. But, people want to spend time with you, and you do have a significant profile. So when you're able to host events, and show up, that’s meaningful philanthropy.


Giving to causes that are close to my heart, like helping underserved youth through tennis, prevention of drug abuse, well those are some of the most meaningful things I've been able to do in my career.

Next time, we'll talk about something that many professional athletes have a hard time doing -- saying no. And that’s so true.


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Being a professional tennis player means you have a voice and a platform. You may want to support causes that matter to you, but how do you do it wisely?


Philanthropy and community work can be one of the most meaningful parts of the job and you don’t have to wait until you are at the peak of your career to give back. On the flipside, being a successful player means you may be inundated with requests. Scott Lamson, a Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Advisor, shares strategies for creating a philanthropic plan that aligns with your values and financial goals.

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Check out more What Moves You audio episodes with Chris Evert, or listen to other Morgan Stanley podcasts.