Change is difficult to diagnose in a vacuum and only surfaces in our interactions with others. My dad runs a non-profit, and having gained eight weeks of non-profit experience, I wanted to swap insights. I’ve always viewed my dad as a leader and emulated his reliance on sharp critical thinking and logic-based decisions. He shared with me his frustration with his coworkers’ inability to understand the necessity of commercial considerations in growing a non-profit organization. His words reflected his belief that a business minded approach to helping others would in the long run help the most people, even if in the short run, it appeared to fail the people it promised to help.
Not quite believing my ears, I reflected on the prejudice I brought to my first day of work at Solid Ground. How I prioritized outcomes over process, and without quite realizing it, numbers over people. That procuring the most grant money is not necessarily synonymous with helping the most people, even if those funds reach more people. Solid Ground taught me that the mission must resonate internally before anything will ever improve externally. I looked at my dad, and told him there is a certain level of humanity that you can give to a community that will never show up in a proposal. It’s still valuable.