Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Outerspace vs. Cyberspace


Michael Jackson didn’t invent the moon walk, Neil Armstrong did…literally.  And when Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” in 1969, he had no idea what an understatement that would turn out to be.

For that generation, fellow space travelers Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin proved that the moon wasn’t made of cheese, fulfilled the promise of deceased President John F. Kennedy to put a man on the moon, and opened up a world (pun intended) of opportunities.

Although rocket scientists, they didn’t realize they started a revolution.  A revolution of possibilities never before imagined.    If men from the planet Earth could achieve what many thought to be impossible, what was stopping us from, well, just about anything?
You don’t have to look any further than the freshman graduating class of 2016 to realize how ginormous that leap for mankind really was.  They were born in 1994 on Earth, yet in cyberspace; it’s all they’ve ever known.

In Beloit College’s recently released Mindset List, they report that the average college freshman doesn’t even recall when J.R. Ewing from Dallas was alive, that Woody Allen was married to anyone other than Soon-Yi Previn, or the art/skill of cursive writing.

The next millennium will lie in the hands of a future President of the United States who has never twisted a coiled phone cord around her arm while paying long distance on a land line?

It’s a good possibility that in 2020 our Indiana Governor won’t even know what bound encyclopedias look like or remember a time when we didn’t have blue M&M’s or rolling luggage.  (Yes, kids, we used to actually carry our luggage!)

Although our future mayor will have a television with more than three major networks, he will likely prefer to watch via the newest iSomething, which is why he entered college having a slight hearing loss in the first place.  And, although he’ll be well-read, Amazon will be his bookstore of choice. 

Obviously, as Bob Dylan wrote, “Times, they are a’changin’”.  Sure, maybe cyberspace has supplanted outerspace in the minds of incoming freshman.  But, both were important. 

Last week, I attended a Community Foundation CEO Retreat where we discussed Indiana’s upcoming Bicentennial Celebration in 2016. It was fascinating to learn that the first Indiana parks were developed in 1916, the year of our 100th birthday.  What a tremendous gift Hoosiers have enjoyed for generations because 100 years ago someone was intentionally thinking about Indiana’s future.

Let’s face it, the moon landing was awesome because it turned science fiction into reality.  A true game changer.   It was the end of the world as we knew it.  It was a tremendous gift that NASA gave the world.

And, so here we are.  It’s our turn to leave a gift.  What will our legacy be in our hometown, our county, our state?  The time has come to put some serious thought into it.

In 1947, Neil Armstrong entered our very own Purdue University as a freshman.  He was thinking about his legacy then. Thousands of college freshman are off to college in the next two weeks.  They’re thinking about it now.

Let’s be intentional, fellow philanthropists.  What can we do now that will make a difference in 50 or 100 years like the Indiana State Parks?  How can your Community Foundation help you achieve that goal?  The time is now.  The sky is the limit.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mad Ninja Skills


My friend Alisha just graduated from nursing school last weekend.  Pretty soon she’ll have “RN” after her name and I couldn’t be more proud.  But, she’s also one of ‘those’ people who is good at just about anything she does.  She’s artsy and creative, athletic and adventurous, bubbly and caring.  She’s incredibly talented, or as the kids would say, she’s got mad ninja skills…and I just love her to pieces.

But, it wasn’t until last week that I learned about Alisha’s mad ninja photography skills.  Just last week,  she did a photo shoot with my entire family.  Watching her erupt in laughter or lovingly tear up after snapping shots like this precious one of my boys and their cousins was truly heartwarming.  It’s obvious that she cares deeply.  Although photography is only a hobby for her, it’s one way she truly expresses herself.  She’s a nurse, but also an artist.

Now me on the other hand, I’m much more like McGyver than I am Martha Stewart.  I have ideas.  Lots of ideas.  But, my creations are less art and more of an exercise in creative problem-solving.  For example, last month I was asked to donate a gift basket to auction off for charity.   So, this weekend was officially time to get my mad ninja crafting skills on.  A Pinteresting afternoon crafting for charity is one way I like to express myself.  While not a true ‘gift basket’, I did make a gift wrapping station that I entitled Just Add Present”.  I’m excited just to know that someone else will enjoy it and that the money will go to a worthy cause.

Another worthy cause takes place in just 77 days.  As Americans, we will all have a priceless opportunity to express ourselves…in the voting booth.  Whether young or old, Democrat or Republican, November 6, 2012 is your chance to have a voice in the future of our country.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States (POTUS) will provide leadership in the direction of our country for the next four years.  If you’re registered, you can cast your vote for the next POTUS on November 6th.  If you’re not registered, it’s not too late.  The deadline for voter registration in Indiana is October 9th and you can even click this link to register online right now.  Already registered? Forward this to someone who isn’t and help give someone else a voice.

If there is ever a time to express yourself, it’s at the polls.  So, what are you waiting for?  It’s time to get your mad ninja voting skills on. Pin It

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fractures, Football, and Filanthropy


My babies went back to school today…if you can call a 13 and 15 year old babies.  It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to summer and hello to homework.  Goodbye to flip-flops; hello to tennis shoes.  Goodbye to late nights; hello to alarm clocks. But, as my new teenager, Dalton, walked into school today I couldn’t help but feel blessed.

Just six years ago, while in 2nd grade, Dalton was injured at an after-school program at school.  By the time we got him to the emergency room, his face was covered in bruises and the swelling had set in.  The symptoms of a concussion were apparent and a quick X-ray led to a conclusion we weren’t expecting…a skull fracture.  

Similar to the crooked scar on Harry Potter’s forehead, the fracture began at the top of his hairline, went down to the bridge of his nose, across his left eyebrow, and then down the left side of his eye.  

In addition to that, he lost about a year of short-term memory, had to sit out of sports for an entire year (that’s technically defined as torture to a young boy), and was told he couldn’t play football again…ever.

So, there’s no football for my sporty son.  That’s a crushing reality at this time each year as most of his friends pick up their cleats and helmets and head off to practice.  But, we make the best of it.  He still plays catch with his dad out in the back yard and, of course, we watch football…a lot of it.

My guess is that you do too.  I mean really, is there anything better than autumn in Indiana?  A chill in the air, wearing the jersey of your favorite team, and watching two teams pummel each other just to put a few points up on the board. Now, the Olympics are great, but football…now, that’s American!

And, the team at the Community Foundation is hoping that you’ll be willing to take that love of football to a new level this year. 

This year, we’re kicking off our Annual Fund Campaign with the NFL kick-off on September 5th.  And, we’re asking our Foundation fans and sports fans to help us out with the first ever Philanthropy Phootball.  Or is it Filanthropy Football?  Either way, you can be a part of it by simply picking your favorite NFL team and agreeing to donate $1.00 to the Foundation for each point that your team scores in regular and post-season. That’s it!  We’ll update you on a weekly basis as to how each team is doing and we’ll even send you a monthly invoice if that makes it easier.

We know, we know…sometimes fundraisers are boring.  But, football isn’t.  So, this mixes a little fun with a little charitable giving and ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, a Football-anthropist is born.  All you have to do is (a) sign up by August 31 and (b) watch football.  

It’s taken the past 6 years for Dalton to catch back up to where he was before his accident.  Now I’m happy to say he’s back in his regular classes, on grade level again (finally), and he even made it to a couple of advanced courses this year.  We’re so proud of all of his hard work to get there.  And, we’re so thankful for all of those that supported us throughout his healing process.
  
But, no, we don’t have a football player in our family anymore…technically. (Unbeknownst to him, we’ve quasi-adopted Colts running back, Donald Brown, as part of the family.)  We’ve made a sport of being football fans.  

If you do, too…challenge a friend or family member who likes an opposing team to become a Football-anthopist, too.  Look at it this way, whether your team wins or loses, a charitable donation and deduction is a classic win/win.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Inspiration 101


This past week was a doozy of epic proportions.  Honestly, there were times that I wanted to step outside with a baseball mitt to see if it was even possible to catch a break.  Yet, amidst the chaos, some organized and some not-so-much, I was inspired. 

My guess is that you’ve had one of those doozy-kind-of-weeks before.  Maybe you’re even having one right now.  But, take my advice here, below the knee-jerk surface of it all…you’ll find inspiration, if you’ll only look. 

So, this week (outlined as any self-respecting Hoosier would outline it), here’s my David Letterman-esque Top Ten List.

The Top Ten Inspirational Nuggets That Got Me Through a Doozy of a Week:

10. The Passport:  1000 Things You Should Do Before You Graduate was released on Friday.  Check it out on www.mygcpassport.com.  It’s chockfull of experiences all of our kids need to THRIVE.  (I love the word “thrive” and especially love it when it’s referring to our young people.)  Nearly 70 of the experiences that are in The Passport were available at First Friday’s Passport Olympic Village last Friday.  One specific heart-warmer occurred at the Sushi booth…(Try Sushi is Passport Experience #142).  A mom said:  “I knew it!  My whole life I thought sushi would be disgusting and it is!”  Her son said:  “I thought it was great!”  Because of The Passport, this young child got to taste sushi and loved it.  Plus, mom and son experienced it together.  Nice.

9.   Another Passport Experience, #952, is Take a Picture with Sidewalk Chalk.  With the creativity of some awesome volunteers, there were skyscrapers drawn on the sidewalk with chalk.  The concept was as simple as it was fun. The children would don a Superman cape and then lay on the ground above the chalk skyscrapers.  With the cameraman high atop a ladder, the pictures really did look like the kids were flying over the tops of those buildings.  But, the best picture of the night was the one with the father and son both wearing the Superman capes and both flying over the buildings together as superheroes.  Now that, Mastercard, is priceless.

8.   Did you happen to catch that unbelievable picture from London where the full moon bizarrely floated under the Olympic rings to form sort of a sixth ring?  Brilliant! 

7.   Evan Doyle, intern extraordinaire, ended his summer internship with us this week.  Why do interns always do this?  They come in all bright-eyed and full of ideas and then we throw them into the real-world projects of the Community Foundation.  We work hard and laugh hard, we get all attached, and then they have to leave.  It’s sad for sure, but then you realize that at least you got the chance to get to know them.  Thanks to a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., we’ve gotten to work with approximately a dozen up-and-coming leaders.  And, one thing I know for sure, they are inspiring.

6.   New school supplies!  If you haven’t smelled a brand new box of Crayola Crayons lately, you just aren’t living.

5.   They Synergy 2012 Forum took place last week.  If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you can appreciate the amount of detail that goes into making a big event go from concept to reality.  I spotted this pic (left) on Facebook and can honestly say that it’s encouraging to work with others that know what it means to get their hands dirty. 

4.   There was a real live, true blue accordion player in the band at our church on Sunday.  Honestly, there is actually someone that plays the accordion in Grant County!  I don’t know why, but that just made me smile. 
 
3.   Curtis Martin’s induction speech into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was pure wow!  This guy never thought he’d live to see age of 21.  His tragic life story was changed by the game of football.  I was genuinely moved.  And for me, considering he played for the New England Patriots, that’s saying something. 

2.  Tamara Barrett and Bethany Kirkwood…Grant County youth gone good.  Tamara and Bethany are passionate young women.  Both are athletic. And, both loved Ramie Harris.  Last year Ramie died in a tragic plane accident and since then Tamara and Bethany have been thinking of a way to honor her memory…and they have. November 3rd of this year, these two ladies will be running a marathon in Ramie’s honor. They’re calling it Runningfor Ramie, they are training now, and they plan to apply any sponsorships or donations to the Ramie Harris Memorial Scholarship Fund.  Check out their webpage if you’d like to learn how to help these two philanthropists honor their longtime teammate and friend, Ramie.

1.   XXX Summer Olympics:  No matter what my last week was like, I think NBC had it a bit rougher.  The criticism of their tape delays, spoilers, and the #NBCFAIL hashtag on Twitter has been brutal for sure.  But, despite it all, the stories of Usain Bolt stopping an interview out of respect for America’s National Anthem that he heard playing in the background or Gabby Douglas so humbly taking the All-Around Gold in gymnastics makes it worth it for me.  Time-delay or not, these are real people with real dedication and real stories…stories that inspire.

But, in the end it’s not about what inspires me…or you.  It’s about what we can do to inspire others.  What can you do?
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