Many of us in America seem to have a mentality of “they” will take care of it. Who is “they” anyway?
“They” often manifests themselves in simple everyday non-actions, such as not picking up trash from the ground because “they” (the City) will sweep it up, or passing a disabled vehicle on the road with a flat tire because “someone else” (AAA) will take care of it - and, besides, I am running late! Let’s be honest; we all have done it. Have we somehow morphed into a people of entitlement and are no longer part of the solution? Have we lost what JFK’s call: “…ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”? Are we not empowered as individuals to make a difference any longer? Who took that power away anyway?
Yes, Public Service, Employers and Nonprofits alike will continue to be a big part of solving problems in our everyday lives – no doubt about it. But isn’t it really an attitude of non-action that we all need to get honest about? Instead of being an entitled people, waiting for “they” to fix the economy, fix healthcare, fix our dependence on foreign oil, fix the environment, fix human rights issues, fix our “entitlement programs”, etc., ask yourself what can you do?
It is my belief that the very backbone and key to our future is, and always has been entrepreneurship. These entities are created by individuals, just like you and me, who form to proactively make change and take hold of their own destinies; taking action, rather than waiting or even worse, doing nothing. The entrepreneurial spirit, be it economic or social (profit or non-profit), is vital to our growth as a nation and, most importantly, ourselves. Yes, Washington can create an environment to encourage entrepreneurship through tax policy, stimulus plans, monetary policy, etc., but we cannot afford to rely on these alone.
Because of my profession, I am privileged to spend time working with many Nonprofits on their grassroots initiatives such as online fundraising and advocacy, some of which are start-ups. I just had lunch a few weeks ago with a young, bright and highly purpose-driven social entrepreneur who is in midst of launching her first fundraising effort to finance micro-projects in small Villages in Zambia to improve their paralyzing third-world conditions (teaching them how to fish, rather than giving them fish). Sarah Grant, founder and executive director of Color-Me-In! recently returned from a two year assignment in Zambia as part of their Peace Corp commitment. It would have been easy for Sarah to get back to her education or career aspirations after the Peace Corp yet she had unfinished business to attend to. I have to say she, like others I have worked with, inspires me to no end. “They” are committed to leaving this world better than they found it…
I think all of us have the privilege of taking action and making a difference each day, in whatever roles we play in our work in this industry. Care2 members also make a difference in their actions each and every day. We need to support, encourage and continue to be leaders, as this is what will return this great nation to its core values and destiny.