A lyric in one of my favorite Avett Brothers songs (featured in Tim’s Library – Songs - April, 2010) states:
"When you run, make sure you run, to something not away from”
It’s a lesson I’ve had to remember many times in my life.
The first that I recall was quitting cigarettes. Like most smokers, I’d quit several times unsuccessfully. But this time I convinced myself that instead of “stopping”, I would start running which I’d done as a kid. The result was simple – every time I ran, it made it harder to think about smoking again.
And I had a positive goal; first 500 yards, a week or two later a mile, until over a year or so I’d ramped up to 2-4 miles every other day which I did for 23 years. (My knees gave out, now I bike.)
“Run to – not away from” has come up again over these last four years as we’ve continued to build The Business of Good to a more scalable level.
In 2007, our foundation had been around and helpful in serving those who serve the poor but we suddenly had more money to invest in our mission.
My first thought was to build a non-profit business center – bricks and mortar; a place where non-profits who served the poor could pay reduced rent and enjoy shared services to decrease their operating expenses.
As is my custom from a career in marketing, we first did the research and found this idea has been done many times around the country. In fact, there is a national non-profit business center network started by the famous Tides Foundation in San Francisco.
So for more than a year, we met with interested non-profits and developed strategic plans, drawings…..we even hired full time people and bid on a building to rehab. Eighteen months into our work, we’d spent tens of thousands of dollars. In the end we found that “serving those who serve the poor” was More...