Bigger Than the Bottom Line

Justin recently did an interview for the Millennial Leader Podcast (full interview found here) and was asked about the challenges that come along with leadership and being in the millennial generation. I absolutely loved three points that he and the host discussed. Below, I took the three main points from the podcast that struck me most and expanded on them from my point of view as a CFA team member:

 1.     Our mission is bigger than the bottom line

While this may seem obvious, I think it is an extremely important discussion topic. By even discussing this point, we acknowledge that a bottom line exists. At CARE for AIDS we understand that each donation is an investment, and we are eager to show a return on that investment in many ways. For example, by supporting a CARE for AIDS client, donors are helping extend that client’s life so that they can raise their children. For every dollar we spend in orphan prevention, we save the global economy $70 in orphan care costs. That’s a pretty good bottom line. But we know that economics can’t hold a candle to the impact that the program and the Kenyan staff have on individuals’ lives. Our mission is bigger than the bottom line, and that helps guide us every day.

2.     Your capacity to learn determines your capacity to lead

This is a defining trait for the CARE for AIDS team, both in the US and in Kenya. Growing up, my dad always told me  “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know”. Humility and a constant posture of learning are traits that I am so thankful are part of our work culture, and that I am constantly learning to implement in other aspects of my life as well.

3.     Collaboration should replace competition

This one is definitely a favorite- and I think that all organizations should embrace this, whether non-profit or for-profit. Justin wrote an article that expands on this principal at the beginning of the year, and we have all seen the benefit of collaboration in recent months. I like to look at collaboration from a broad lens, though, and not just in the context of business partnerships. One of the most impactful pictures of collaboration we have seen in 2014 is what the White family was able to do by collaborating with their community.  Their collaboration in fundraising allowed us to open and fund a new center in just 90 days.

I am generally not one to get excited over leadership principles or business practices, but these three aspects of the CARE for AIDS work culture absolutely inspire me. Each point can be lived out both in a work context and a personal context, which is where our true leadership and work ethic tend to play out.

As you finish out your work week, what are some business/leadership principles that you can implement in your everyday interactions? 




Friday would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday, and to honor the recently lost hero of equality, many people celebrated Mandela Day. As I read more about his life and work last week, my respect for he and his contemporaries only increased.

Mandela was a voracious reader and has often credited the poem ‘Invictus’ with being “one of the most powerful pieces of literature [that he had] read, which inspired [him] to struggle for freedom and a just society” (more about Mandela here).

In honor of Mandela and his fight for justice and peace throughout his life, we would like to share this favorite poem of his.

Invictus; by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.



Join In the Giving

In 1993 Bill and Melinda Gates took a walk on a beach in Zambia and made a world changing decision. They made a pledge to give all of the wealth that they had earned from Microsoft back to the global community- that walk on the beach was the first step in creating what is now America’s most generous foundation.

Fast-forward to 2014- the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given $30 billion in grants toward humanitarian efforts all around the globe. But that is not what impresses me about the Gates family.

Bill and Melinda have given away 95% of their personal wealth, and they very well could stop there and settle for being the most philanthropic couple in the world. But they didn’t…they have engaged their peers in the giving process. Not only have the Gates’ given away a shocking amount of their personal wealth, but they have multiplied that giving 100 times through a program they created called the Giving Pledge.

Thanks to the Giving Pledge, 127 of the world’s wealthiest families and individuals have pledged to give more than half of their wealth back to global society through philanthropy. The impact of this kind of widespread generosity is unfathomable to me. Of course, for most of us, giving away half of our income would be impossible. What we can do, however, is give to the capacity that we are able, and then press on in giving through engaging our peers and communities. If my giving can inspire others to give, I have multiplied my influence far beyond what I could have done alone, just like the Gates.

How can you use your generosity to inspire others to join in the giving? 



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