I was involved with the corporate world for over 40 years, as CEO in several companies, management consultant, and college lecturer. In 2001, a little company I had a stake in became successful and began paying dividends. Five years later the company was sold and my share of the proceeds amounted to $10 million. I gave every penny of the proceeds into an account to be used for charitable purposes.
I was born during the Depression in St. Louis to educated parents of very modest means. I never wanted to be rich and already thought we had enough thirty-five years ago when the children were grown.
I believe that while money and rewards motivate us to strive for more, this happens only up to a point. Beyond the point when one has a comfortable living and the freedom to make choices about one's work, more money can be counter-productive. It does not motivate us to contribute more to the community, and can even subvert our democracy. So when I found that I had more than I needed, I decided to use the surplus for a worthy cause.
To my mind, the two biggest causes of physical suffering are disease and warfare. Enormous efforts and great progress has been made in combating disease. Far less has been made in preventing war.
A lot has been learned about war prevention in recent years. However, little of this knowledge has been effectively applied. One reason is that there has been no mechanism in place to respond to warnings of likely trouble. Moreover, the bulk of the effort and money for peace-building goes to places where violence has already broken out – much more costly and difficult to address than to prevent violence before it begins. My violence prevention efforts do not address the problems initiated by advanced countries. They are directed toward fragile or unstable countries too poor to have effective governments.
To identify how best to approach violence prevention, I convened a series of meetings of professionals in the field. They devised an innovative approach involving assisting local leaders to work to prevent violence in their countries, and recommended initiating a project to test the new approach.
Based on a study from Carleton University we commissioned, we chose Guinea-Bissau, a small West African country in which violence was expected, as the place to begin. Work started in 2004. Our followup study suggests our work was effective and we are now moving to address problems in a second country. I'd love to see us get more funding so our informal violence prevention agency can expand its work beyond the two states in West Africa that we currently engage in.
Sharing a common goal with capable people, seeing real progress in saving lives, and establishing an organization that can respond to warning of impending violence has been very exciting.
But this journey of mine has not been without challenges. First, I had to learn a field about which I knew nothing. Then came the challenge of instilling into my colleagues a results-oriented approach and a sense of urgency. Finally, there is the challenge of engaging donors to collaborate with us and to consider objectively how we can do the most good together.
The satisfaction gained from giving financial support to good causes is huge... and multiplied by actively participating in the work.
Posted on July 18th by Edward yesmar
Thank you, for doing what I wish I could do, I do what I can.
There is a women in Prides Crossing named Bonnie Loring she says that giving her money away is just wasting it. But she gives to organizations that a listed as Hate groups, how different we all are.