Blog
img04









Christmas in Phoenix

December 23, 2014 No Comments 4

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and political players who have shaped Phoenix, but for those of us who want to see our city thriving not just now but for decades to come, it's required reading. This week, however, he paused to remember, with fondness, what Christmas was like as a child: I never dreamed of a white Christmas because I grew up in Phoenix. On the one hand, you felt terribly disconnected from the world depicted by television and the movies. As a child, I had no idea what snow really looked or felt like. My one experience, when I was four, was seeing flakes coming down. I was so excited that I ran to the side of the house to tell my mother. By that time, they were gone. Not until my thirties would I experience a snowy Christmas. Growing up, I wasn't fleeing snow or staying in a resort. Christmas in this preternaturally green oasis surrounded by the Sonoran Desert was all I knew. And yet it seemed right and possessed no little sense of enchantment and meaning. After all, Jesus had been born in a desert. In the Phoenix of my youth, going to the Christmas Eve service at Central United Methodist Church and exiting into the chill, dry air and canopy of stars, I felt very close to those shepherds abiding in the field. In the 1960s the luminaria on the sidewalks of Willo were decades away. Willo wasn't even a name. The fancy light shows were to be found in Palmcroft and Alvarado, where the rich people...

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and political players who have shaped Phoenix, but for those of us who want to see our city thriving not just now but for decades to come, it's required reading. This week, however, he paused to remember, with fondness, what Christmas was like as a child: I never dreamed of a white Christmas because I grew up in Phoenix. On the one hand, you felt terribly disconnected from the world depicted by television and the movies. As a child, I had no idea what snow really looked or felt like. My one experience, when I was four, was seeing flakes coming down. I was so excited that I ran to the side of the house to tell my mother. By that time, they were gone. Not until my thirties would I experience a snowy Christmas. Growing up, I wasn't fleeing snow or staying in a resort. Christmas in this preternaturally green oasis surrounded by the Sonoran...

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and political players who have shaped Phoenix, but for those of us who want to see our city thriving not just now but for decades to come, it's required reading. This week, however, he paused to remember, with fondness, what Christmas was like as a child: I never dreamed of a white Christmas because...

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and...

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic....

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and political players who have shaped Phoenix, but for those of us who want to see our city thriving not just now but for decades to come, it's required reading. This week, however, he paused to remember, with fondness, what Christmas was like as a child: I never dreamed of a white Christmas because...

Read More
img04









Family to Family in Central Phoenix

December 19, 2014 No Comments 7

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school children at least two meals each school day and sending them home with food bags for the weekend. What most of us who are well fed don’t think about is this: what happens to these children during school vacations like summer break and Christmas break? How do these children eat? The sad answer is that some don’t. In 2012, Christ Church of the Valley piloted an initiative to address the need to feed school children during the two week Christmas break. Research was done in cooperation with Phoenix school districts, a plan was implemented, and some kinks worked out. The next year, CCV shared their plan with other Phoenix churches and the Family to Family Food Box distribution program was born. fcc-1 Through Family to Family, churches partner with local schools to provide two food boxes for each needy family identified by the school administration. Each box is filled with 23 staple items, which can help sustain a family of four to five for one week. Church members are asked to personally shop for these 23 food items and fill a box or two or more. The contents of each box cost approximately $35. This Christmas season, First Christian Church (FCC) is distributing 500 Family to Family Food Boxes, impacting 250 families through the following schools in our neighborhood: Mountain View School, Sunnyslope Elementary School, Desert View Elementary School, Maryland Elementary School, Rose Lane Elementary School, Richard E. Miller Elementary School, and Sunnyslope High School. Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school children at least two meals each school day and sending them home with food bags for the weekend. What most of us who are well fed don’t think about is this: what happens to these children during school vacations like summer break and Christmas break? How do these children eat? The sad answer is that some don’t. In 2012, Christ Church of the Valley piloted an initiative to address the need to feed school children during the two week Christmas break. Research was done in cooperation with Phoenix school districts, a plan was implemented, and some kinks worked out. The next year, CCV shared their plan with other Phoenix churches and the Family to Family Food Box distribution program was born. fcc-1 Through Family to Family, churches partner with local schools to provide two food boxes for each needy family identified by the school administration. Each...

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school children at least two meals each school day and sending them home with food bags for the weekend. What most of us who are well fed don’t think about is this: what happens to these children during school vacations like summer break and Christmas break? How do these children eat? The...

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school...

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at...

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school children at least two meals each school day and sending them home with food bags for the weekend. What most of us who are well fed don’t think about is this: what happens to these children during school vacations like summer break and Christmas break? How do these children eat? The...

Read More
img04









Taking Responsibility for our City

December 11, 2014 2 Comments 21

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share of the morning discussion had to do with the power of staff culture. We were challenged to write down the cultural values of the teams we lead. All of the leaders in the room understood the importance of doing so, but few of us had gone through the process of actually writing down the words that both define our current culture and describe the culture we aspire to have. This process is beneficial on multiple levels and applies to all areas of life, whether in the home, in business, or in civic leadership. I recalled that nearly four years ago, when we started New City Church, we went through a similar process—almost without knowing it. At that time we looked at the city of Phoenix and asked ourselves two questions: “What are the current cultural values of this city?” and “What do the people of this city aspire to?” What we have seen over and over as we’ve lived and worked in the city during these past four years is that Phoenix has some very distinct cultural characteristics. First, we have seen that Phoenix values entrepreneurialism. Unlike other cities, there are very few “good old boy” networks you have to navigate, which means that if you have an idea, you really can go for it. Relatedly, we identified a culture of creativity. Perhaps because our city is relatively young, people aren’t afraid to try new things here. The story of Phoenix is still being written, after all. Ours is also a city characterized by resourcefulness, with people from...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share of the morning discussion had to do with the power of staff culture. We were challenged to write down the cultural values of the teams we lead. All of the leaders in the room understood the importance of doing so, but few of us had gone through the process of actually writing down the words that both define our current culture and describe the culture we aspire to have. This process is beneficial on multiple levels and applies to all areas of life, whether in the home, in business, or in civic leadership. I recalled that nearly four years ago, when we started New City Church, we went through a similar process—almost without knowing it. At that time we looked at the city of Phoenix and asked ourselves two questions: “What are the current cultural values of this city?” and “What do the people of this city aspire to?” What we have seen over and...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share of the morning discussion had to do with the power of staff culture. We were challenged to write down the cultural values of the teams we lead. All of the leaders in the room understood the importance of doing so, but few of us had gone through the process of...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share of the morning discussion had to do with the power of staff culture. We were challenged to write down the cultural values of the teams we lead. All of the leaders in the room understood the importance of doing so, but few of us had gone through the process of...

Read More
img04









Why You Should Make Your Own Coffee

December 9, 2014 No Comments 3

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr. Coffee maker or similar low end automatic brewer which is practical, albeit unable to truly produce high quality coffee. Still others may tell me that while they could make coffee at home, they simply go to their local coffee shop every day because they don't have time to make it themselves. From my experience, it seems that brewing coffee manually at home isn’t very popular for these main reasons: the time it takes to brew it, the perception of difficulty and inconvenience, and the cost of quality coffee and brewing equipment creates an entry barrier. I believe that the answers to these problems lie in the idea that coffee at home should be the intersection of craft, quality, and value. Craft, the act of making something by hand, is intertwined with the narrative of humanity and it is impossible to remove our basic need to make, create, or craft. Instead, we have opted for convenience, citing the increased efficiency and ease that attempts to compensate for the satisfaction of doing it yourself. Initially, the concepts of brewing might be a bit daunting, but with a small amount of research and a little practice, coffee brewing easily becomes second nature. It may take a few more moments to grind the coffee and boil water every morning, but it is well worth the wait. You will enjoy the coffee more after making it yourself and may even find that enjoying one cup made by hand satisfies your need for coffee as much as a...

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr. Coffee maker or similar low end automatic brewer which is practical, albeit unable to truly produce high quality coffee. Still others may tell me that while they could make coffee at home, they simply go to their local coffee shop every day because they don't have time to make it themselves. From my experience, it seems that brewing coffee manually at home isn’t very popular for these main reasons: the time it takes to brew it, the perception of difficulty and inconvenience, and the cost of quality coffee and brewing equipment creates an entry barrier. I believe that the answers to these problems lie in the idea that coffee at home should be the intersection of craft, quality, and value. Craft, the act of making something by hand, is intertwined with the narrative of humanity and it is impossible to remove our basic need to make, create, or craft. Instead, we have...

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr. Coffee maker or similar low end automatic brewer which is practical, albeit unable to truly produce high quality coffee. Still others may tell me that while they could make coffee at home, they simply go to their local coffee shop every day because they don't have time to make it...

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr....

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common...

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr. Coffee maker or similar low end automatic brewer which is practical, albeit unable to truly produce high quality coffee. Still others may tell me that while they could make coffee at home, they simply go to their local coffee shop every day because they don't have time to make it...

Read More
img04









Getting to Know the Tribes of Arizona

December 3, 2014 No Comments 3

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll certainly see a series of clipboards organizing the week’s work—a lengthy list advising Governor Jan Brewer on issues related to Arizona’s 22 American Indian tribes. “In addition to providing strategic analysis and advisement to Governor Brewer, I am a senior-level liaison to the Arizona Indian tribes and tribal community members,” she says. Her official titles are Policy Advisor on Tribal Affairs for the Governor’s Office and Director of the Commission of Indian Affairs. But with a coy smile she says, “I prefer to be called mommy, but Mrs. FireThunder will do.” FireThunder has now worked for two governors, but her path to working in politics was unexpected. “My plan was to join a large architectural firm to live the dream of designing culturally competent health care facilities,” she says. “I was encouraged to become more familiar with the procurement processes of state and local governments as many of the jobs would be municipal projects. Come to find out the only way to do this was to get a state job. Having a fulltime job as a design student was next to impossible and I ended up volunteering at several state conferences before I came across an opportunity as a management intern. I have learned so much since that time that I feel that this is where I need to be.” firethunder-1000 FireThunder was raised in the West Valley, spending one year attending parochial school on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona. She says being a tribal member...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll certainly see a series of clipboards organizing the week’s work—a lengthy list advising Governor Jan Brewer on issues related to Arizona’s 22 American Indian tribes. “In addition to providing strategic analysis and advisement to Governor Brewer, I am a senior-level liaison to the Arizona Indian tribes and tribal community members,” she says. Her official titles are Policy Advisor on Tribal Affairs for the Governor’s Office and Director of the Commission of Indian Affairs. But with a coy smile she says, “I prefer to be called mommy, but Mrs. FireThunder will do.” FireThunder has now worked for two governors, but her path to working in politics was unexpected. “My plan was to join a large architectural firm to live the dream of designing culturally competent health care facilities,” she says. “I was encouraged to become more familiar with the procurement processes of state and local governments as many of the jobs would be municipal...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll certainly see a series of clipboards organizing the week’s work—a lengthy list advising Governor Jan Brewer on issues related to Arizona’s 22 American Indian tribes. “In addition to providing strategic analysis and advisement to Governor Brewer, I am a senior-level liaison to the Arizona Indian tribes and tribal community members,” she...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll certainly see a series of clipboards organizing the week’s work—a lengthy list advising Governor Jan Brewer on issues related to Arizona’s 22 American Indian tribes. “In addition to providing strategic analysis and advisement to Governor Brewer, I am a senior-level liaison to the Arizona Indian tribes and tribal community members,” she...

Read More
img04









Hiking in South Phoenix

November 6, 2014 No Comments 5

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the distance to match their preferences. The trail can be seen from the south end of 24th Street, just before the merge with East Valley View Drive. Do not let the overflowing parking lot deter you from visiting; this trail’s population is significantly less compared to Awhatukee’s trails. To find the best parking place, I recommend parking on Euclid Avenue, which is a short walk northwest of the trailhead. Near the trailhead, there is a ramada that provides shade for a pre-hike stretch or point-of-location if you want to hike with a group. The trail varies between rocky inclines and flat footpaths, as it follows the side of the mountain. I love the fact that the mountainside provides shade for the majority of the hike, as this extends the hiking season for me. The trail is wide enough to allow a couple to hike alongside each other while conversing. There are plenty of places to step aside and relax while letting the occasional biker or horseback rider pass. The trail is also pet-friendly, so feel free to grab a leash and bring Fido along with you. Mormon Trail is 1.25 miles long, with an elevation change of 1,000 feet. The end of this trail marks the beginning of two more, Mormon Loop and National. From this junction you can return the way you came or continue on with the other trails. Whatever option you choose, make sure you carry plenty of water for yourself (and your dog, if applicable). For those looking for higher...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the distance to match their preferences. The trail can be seen from the south end of 24th Street, just before the merge with East Valley View Drive. Do not let the overflowing parking lot deter you from visiting; this trail’s population is significantly less compared to Awhatukee’s trails. To find the best parking place, I recommend parking on Euclid Avenue, which is a short walk northwest of the trailhead. Near the trailhead, there is a ramada that provides shade for a pre-hike stretch or point-of-location if you want to hike with a group. The trail varies between rocky inclines and flat footpaths, as it follows the side of the mountain. I love the fact that the mountainside provides shade for the majority of the hike, as this extends the hiking season for me. The trail is wide enough to allow a couple to hike alongside each other while conversing. There are plenty of...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the distance to match their preferences. The trail can be seen from the south end of 24th Street, just before the merge with East Valley View Drive. Do not let the overflowing parking lot deter you from visiting; this trail’s population is significantly less compared to Awhatukee’s trails. To find the...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the distance to match their preferences. The trail can be seen from the south end of 24th Street, just before the merge with East Valley View Drive. Do not let the overflowing parking lot deter you from visiting; this trail’s population is significantly less compared to Awhatukee’s trails. To find the...

Read More
img04









Helping Boys Find Purpose

October 31, 2014 No Comments 6

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The title, The Purpose of Boys, caught my attention along with the subtitle, “helping our sons find meaning, significance, and direction in their lives.” But what mesmerized me were the faces and eyes of the three young men on the cover. How often in my 25 years of involvement in healthcare had I seen young boys from preschool through teen years look out into the world in search of a connection? How often have I heard someone ask young boys with similar faces, “What is wrong with you?” On this particular day, however, what I heard from Michael Gurian, Tim Wright, and Dakota Hoyt was that in many circumstances and settings we have been asking our questions from a “management of behaviors” standpoint, rather than with the appreciation for the unmet needs driving those behaviors. Male and female brains are different. The science presented by Michael Gurian at the summit and documented in his extensive writing is shared from the best research available. The conversation about the development of the brains of young boys and girls were presented to bring about an appreciation of the differences, without reopening any wounds regarding equality issues. gurian-scans The presenters were very clear to establish that their inquiry and research into gender bias being experienced by boys in education, psychology, social service fields, and certain employment opportunities is not equivalent to the patriarchal bias that many women continue to face. The bias that boys and young men face is not intentionally designed...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The title, The Purpose of Boys, caught my attention along with the subtitle, “helping our sons find meaning, significance, and direction in their lives.” But what mesmerized me were the faces and eyes of the three young men on the cover. How often in my 25 years of involvement in healthcare had I seen young boys from preschool through teen years look out into the world in search of a connection? How often have I heard someone ask young boys with similar faces, “What is wrong with you?” On this particular day, however, what I heard from Michael Gurian, Tim Wright, and Dakota Hoyt was that in many circumstances and settings we have been asking our questions from a “management of behaviors” standpoint, rather than with the appreciation for the unmet needs driving those behaviors. Male and female brains are different. The science presented by Michael Gurian at the summit and documented in his...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The title, The Purpose of Boys, caught my attention along with the subtitle, “helping our sons find meaning, significance, and direction in their lives.” But what mesmerized me were the faces and eyes of the three young men on the cover. How often in my 25 years of involvement in healthcare had...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The title, The Purpose of Boys, caught my attention along with the subtitle, “helping our sons find meaning, significance, and direction in their lives.” But what mesmerized me were the faces and eyes of the three young men on the cover. How often in my 25 years of involvement in healthcare had...

Read More

…Nonprofits Are From Venus

October 29, 2014 No Comments 16

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long way. Today I want to flip things around and consider the partner-nonprofit relationship from the nonprofit leader’s point of view. So without further ado, here are four pieces of advice that nonprofit organizations would give to partners: 1. We cannot be all things to all people. Every day, we are pulled and tugged with proposals and expansion opportunities. We earnestly consider the opportunities that are presented, but we cannot pursue every idea. Resources are limited, but more importantly, we need to stay focused on the mission and vision of our work. This is not to say that your idea does not have merit, but simply that we’re not the organization to see it come to fruition. 2. Meaningful accountability is not cheap. We join you in wishing that every dollar we receive could go straight towards our “boots on the ground” program. But if we really expounded on that thought, we would quickly realize our folly. Without audits, accountants, board meetings, and gifted administrators, our well-intended efforts would turn into chaos. When we value accountability, we are saying that we not only want to care for our community, but we want to do it with excellence. If you hear that your favorite nonprofit used a Groupon for their annual audit… well, that might not be a good thing. 3. Become a “grocery list” partner. Driving to the grocery store without a plan is a disaster in the making. You’ll come home with a bunch of food, but none of the ingredients you need to...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long way. Today I want to flip things around and consider the partner-nonprofit relationship from the nonprofit leader’s point of view. So without further ado, here are four pieces of advice that nonprofit organizations would give to partners: 1. We cannot be all things to all people. Every day, we are pulled and tugged with proposals and expansion opportunities. We earnestly consider the opportunities that are presented, but we cannot pursue every idea. Resources are limited, but more importantly, we need to stay focused on the mission and vision of our work. This is not to say that your idea does not have merit, but simply that we’re not the organization to see it come to fruition. 2. Meaningful accountability is not cheap. We join you in wishing that every dollar we receive could go straight towards our “boots on the ground” program. But if we really expounded on that thought, we would quickly...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long way. Today I want to flip things around and consider the partner-nonprofit relationship from the nonprofit leader’s point of view. So without further ado, here are four pieces of advice that nonprofit organizations would give to partners: 1. We cannot be all things to all people. Every day, we are pulled and...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long way. Today I want to flip things around and consider the partner-nonprofit relationship from the nonprofit leader’s point of view. So without further ado, here are four pieces of advice that nonprofit organizations would give to partners: 1. We cannot be all things to all people. Every day, we are pulled and...

Read More

Donors Are From Mars…

October 28, 2014 1 Comment 26

I should start with a disclaimer: I’ve never actually read the famous relationship guide Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. However, I’ve had enough conversations about the book to understand the main point: there are things that men and women do not understand about each other, and these challenges can create tension in the midst of relationships. While the donor and nonprofit relationship is not nearly as foundational as the struggle between genders, it is still rife with the same kinds of misunderstanding and confusion. At one level, there is a great desire to partner together in order to make something incredible happen in our community. However, in the very next moment, we are struggling to communicate and we grow frustrated with each other. As someone who has worked for three different nonprofit organizations over the past 14 years, I understand the challenges that organizations face as they passionately pursue their mission and vision. My wife and I frequently wear the donor hat as well. But I don’t really like the word “donor,” so from now on, we’ll use the term “partner.” We give financially and participate regularly with several nonprofit organizations and we love being involved in what they are doing in the Valley and around the globe. I can recall on multiple occasions asking the same question both of partners and the organizations that we partner with: “What the heck are they thinking?” And you know what? I’m sure others have thought the same of me! But frustration should not cause us to throw in the towel and ignore the frailties of our community and world. We should not allow misunderstandings to force us into apathy and division. Rather, we should strive to bridge the communication gaps between partners and nonprofits. This topic is far too big to be fully unpacked...

I should start with a disclaimer: I’ve never actually read the famous relationship guide Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. However, I’ve had enough conversations about the book to understand the main point: there are things that men and women do not understand about each other, and these challenges can create tension in the midst of relationships. While the donor and nonprofit relationship is not nearly as foundational as the struggle between genders, it is still rife with the same kinds of misunderstanding and confusion. At one level, there is a great desire to partner together in order to make something incredible happen in our community. However, in the very next moment, we are struggling to communicate and we grow frustrated with each other. As someone who has worked for three different nonprofit organizations over the past 14 years, I understand the challenges that organizations face as they passionately pursue their mission and vision. My wife and I frequently wear the donor hat as well. But I don’t really like the word “donor,” so from now on, we’ll use the term “partner.” We give financially and participate regularly with several nonprofit organizations and we love being involved in what they...

I should start with a disclaimer: I’ve never actually read the famous relationship guide Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. However, I’ve had enough conversations about the book to understand the main point: there are things that men and women do not understand about each other, and these challenges can create tension in the midst of relationships. While the donor and nonprofit relationship is not nearly as foundational as the struggle between genders, it is still rife with the same kinds of misunderstanding and confusion. At one level, there is a great desire to partner together in order to...

I should start with a disclaimer: I’ve never actually read the famous relationship guide Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. However, I’ve had enough conversations about the book to understand the main point: there are things that men and women do not understand about each other, and these...

I should start with a disclaimer: I’ve never actually read the famous relationship guide Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. However, I’ve had...

I should start with a disclaimer: I’ve never actually read the famous relationship guide Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. However, I’ve had enough conversations about the book to understand the main point: there are things that men and women do not understand about each other, and these challenges can create tension in the midst of relationships. While the donor and nonprofit relationship is not nearly as foundational as the struggle between genders, it is still rife with the same kinds of misunderstanding and confusion. At one level, there is a great desire to partner together in order to...

Read More
img04









Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and the Story of Tempe

October 22, 2014 1 Comment 8

Charles T. Hayden was a risk-taker. After initial business success in 1850s, he decided to leave his comfortable home in Missouri and head west to the dangerous, hot, and sparsely populated state of Arizona. He landed in Tucson and started a successful freighting company that brought supplies to rugged men in mining camps and military posts. One day in the 1860s, Hayden went on a business trip, traveling from Tucson to Prescott. His trip was delayed when he reached the edge of the Salt River, in the place that we now call Tempe Town Lake. It might be hard for us to imagine, but the river was raging, and it was too dangerous for Hayden to cross to the other side. He was delayed on the banks of the uncultivated land that would eventually become the city of Tempe. Hayden camped next to the river for two days. Being the risk-taker that he was, he would eventually pass through the raging river, but the seed of a greater challenge was planted in his mind during his two-day unintentional retreat. One afternoon, he climbed to the top of what we know as A Mountain and looked out at the dusty plot of land at the foot of the hill. Most people would have seen nothing but barrenness and obstacles, but Hayden saw opportunity. He saw the city of Tempe. Tempe-1870 As Hayden stood on the peak of A Mountain, he envisioned businesses, canal systems, river ferries, agricultural opportunities, and schools. So he decided to take another risk, purchasing the 160 acres that now constitute downtown Tempe. He helped start the city, its initial economy, and helped give rise to what is now Arizona State University. A growing skyline now stands on the edge of the Salt River, the...

Charles T. Hayden was a risk-taker. After initial business success in 1850s, he decided to leave his comfortable home in Missouri and head west to the dangerous, hot, and sparsely populated state of Arizona. He landed in Tucson and started a successful freighting company that brought supplies to rugged men in mining camps and military posts. One day in the 1860s, Hayden went on a business trip, traveling from Tucson to Prescott. His trip was delayed when he reached the edge of the Salt River, in the place that we now call Tempe Town Lake. It might be hard for us to imagine, but the river was raging, and it was too dangerous for Hayden to cross to the other side. He was delayed on the banks of the uncultivated land that would eventually become the city of Tempe. Hayden camped next to the river for two days. Being the risk-taker that he was, he would eventually pass through the raging river, but the seed of a greater challenge was planted in his mind during his two-day unintentional retreat. One afternoon, he climbed to the top of what we know as A Mountain and looked out at the dusty plot of land at...

Charles T. Hayden was a risk-taker. After initial business success in 1850s, he decided to leave his comfortable home in Missouri and head west to the dangerous, hot, and sparsely populated state of Arizona. He landed in Tucson and started a successful freighting company that brought supplies to rugged men in mining camps and military posts. One day in the 1860s, Hayden went on a business trip, traveling from Tucson to Prescott. His trip was delayed when he reached the edge of the Salt River, in the place that we now call Tempe Town Lake. It might be hard for us to...

Charles T. Hayden was a risk-taker. After initial business success in 1850s, he decided to leave his comfortable home in Missouri and head west to the dangerous, hot, and sparsely populated state of Arizona. He landed in Tucson and started a successful freighting company that brought supplies to rugged men in...

Charles T. Hayden was a risk-taker. After initial business success in 1850s, he decided to leave his comfortable home in Missouri and head west to the...

Charles T. Hayden was a risk-taker. After initial business success in 1850s, he decided to leave his comfortable home in Missouri and head west to the dangerous, hot, and sparsely populated state of Arizona. He landed in Tucson and started a successful freighting company that brought supplies to rugged men in mining camps and military posts. One day in the 1860s, Hayden went on a business trip, traveling from Tucson to Prescott. His trip was delayed when he reached the edge of the Salt River, in the place that we now call Tempe Town Lake. It might be hard for us to...

Read More