It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but on the positive affirmation of peace… We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the discords of war.”
“Circumstances may change, but the work of compassion must continue. It is surely correct that we cannot solve problems by throwing money at them, but it is also correct that we dare not throw our national problems onto a scrap heap of inattention and indifference. The poor may be out of political fashion, but they are not without human needs. The middle class may be angry, but they have not lost the dream that all Americans can advance together…
“A fair prosperity and a just society are within our vision and our grasp, and we do not have every answer. There are questions not yet asked, waiting for us in the recesses of the future, but of this much we can be certain because it is the lesson of all our history: Together a president and the people can make a difference. I have found that faith still alive wherever I have traveled across this land. So let us reject the counsel of retreat and the call to reaction. Let us go forward in the knowledge that history only helps those who help themselves.
“There will be setbacks and sacrifices in the years ahead but I am convinced that we as a people are ready to give something back to our country in return for all it has given to us.
“Let this be our commitment: Whatever sacrifices must be made will be shared and shared fairly. And let this be our confidence: At the end of our journey and always before us shines that ideal of liberty and justice for all.”
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democratic National Convention 1980
We agree. Our world could use a lot more kindness.
We spotted this sign on Trinity Church in Boston.
While I believe in the power of nonprofits to change lives, I also know that our institutions are a small part of the picture. The easily measured usually serve as band aids or incubators. It’s a lot harder to measure the efforts of the advocates or catalysts for widescale change.
I’d hate to see philanthropy distracted from enabling big system societal changes. Let’s not invest excessive amounts of energy in measuring and evaluating individual nonprofits in isolation, and miss the bigger systems that need our attention.
I woke up this morning thinking again that this third sector of ours needs to stop apologizing for the way it works and stop idealizing some fictitious “smarter than us” for-profit business and leadership model. Instead, we need to reclaim and boldly proclaim our unique way of seeing based on quality of life, a belief in public service and a philanthropic compass to guide our action. It’s time to take the high ground for the what, the why and the how of the work we do.
“The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.” – Abraham Lincoln
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, page 79
If you didn’t have a sense of urgency about building a resilient and adaptive organization before, hopefully our economic meltdown has convinced you that times change.
In case you are still resisting, I thought you might enjoy reading Tom Peters “Re-imagine Manifesto!” “Tomato TomAh to.” Though written a few years ago for a corporate audience, I think you’ll find much that speaks to you today.
For it is that “common purpose” , the great “ambition” of societal change that really matters. We ask our clients to think deep, to challenge themselves to imagine how they can really make that change happen, not just by continuing what they’ve been been doing, but how, through innovation, partnership, best practices, and insight and courage, what it would take to make this change really happen.
Across the US, people are honoring the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by performing community service. President-elect Obama has asked all Americans to serve on King Day and make an ongoing commitment throughout the year.
While I champion the call to service, I’ve been concerned for many years that the definition of volunteering and service has been too narrowly drawn and that what we should be encouraging is civic participation, in all of its many forms.