Driven by strategically giving… And empowering young people to do the same

Dave Aldrich, founder and CEO of Grab the Torch, is teaching youth how to strategically give back, with passion and purpose, learning with high caliber mentors that he wished he had. Growing up in a chaotic alcoholic home and labeled an academic failure while living with severe dyslexia, Dave spent his childhood and early adult years painfully fending for himself.

His poor grades prohibited him from attending college, so he worked his way to a successful career in hospitality as a cook before graduating from the culinary school at Johnson & Wales. He later became a chef, owned several restaurants and managed The Storm Trysail Block Island Race Week (one of the premier regattas in the United States) through the New York Yacht Club. He then consulted for decades in the hospitality and private club industries.

In 2008, he got an “ah-ah” moment when the idea of Grab the Torch was born. He wanted to craft a high-impact, top-quality learning curriculum to ignite passion and philanthropy in the next generation.

“It’s a very simple concept, but a powerful reframe. Everyone keeps saying you have to pass the torch to next generation. That is not how it should be done. We shouldn’t pass something to anyone. A person should physically grab a concept versus having it handed it to him or her. I am very much an opportunity-thinking guy, who is 150 percent convinced that an entitlement mentality is ruining our country. You have to put time, effort and energy into improving yourself, which becomes more meaningful. GRABBING THE TORCH is a much more meaningful and impactful action versus having something just handed to you. You gain a higher level of engagement and ownership with those actions.”