Thursday, July 31, 2008

People who Can - Do. (Thomas Cannon)

I work with non-profit groups to build their capacity, raise resources, increase the effectiveness of their governance - and to do so through small incremental steps. I was struck by a story I recently read about Thomas Cannon, a retired postal worker who has given in excess of $150,000 to worthy people and causes, while never earning more than $30,000 a year. This speaks to the reality of what people can do when they make the decision to actually "do something." I share with non-profit board members the importance of a legacy, but the Cannon family's investments in lives speak volumes.

When asked about his ability to give so generously, Mr. Cannon clarifies that his money comes from the same places where the public gets money for their fashion, vehicles, and material possessions. His frank and honest assessment struck a cord with me. We need people who are willing and able to make a difference by what they say and do. Encourage someone to invest in what they believe in with simple steps that speak volumes about the inner character of a person.

I was tired, frankly, of hearing about Barack. McCain. Omarosa. Being Black in America. Race. Racism. Racial Comments. Coded Words. To humor myself, I thought I would do a little research about simple people who live extraordinary lives, and happen to be Black. After this week of media and canned stories, I needed something more. He would qualify for a "Cool Black Man" cover in my book. When people with so little do so much - it makes me wonder about the rest of us. What is our problem?

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