Social change work is hard and frustrating and wonderful and terrible; it is also, at times, funny, quirky and just plain fascinating. With this blog we hope to capture all that goes into what we do at Capital Good Fund, and we invite you to join the conversation!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Our Commitment

Director Andy Posner sent this email to the board, staff and interns of Capital Good Fund.

William Blake, the great 19th century British poet and mystic, once wrote that "if the doors of perception were cleansed, man would see anything as it is: Infinite."  When it comes to working for justice, we must maintain that sense of the infinite: infinite possibility and an infinite ability to innovate, problem-solve and feel compassion and empathy for others.  Unfortunately, the ubiquitous nature of injustice--poverty, corruption, environmental degradation, etc.--can so easily cloud our mental skies, obscuring our belief in our mission and holding us back from our true potential.  

When we work, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, to bend the arc of history towards justice, it is inevitable that setbacks and seemingly insurmountable challenges present themselves to us.  Borrowers fall behind on loans, events are poorly attended, processes and systems fail...all these things take their toll on us.  So our commitment must go beyond the mission; we must also devote our passion, love and intellect to the constant adjustments that must be made to solve seemingly intractable problems.

All of us are willing to work long-hours and brave the ever present stress inherent to social entrepreneurship.  Beyond that, however, we have to recognize the need for leveraging our time by using creativity as a pulley that can lift our society ever closer to justice.  Let's think not about how many hours we work, but how much we can achieve in an hour towards the building of systems and processes; let's think about the person we are serving, the problem we are solving; and let's always keep our attention focused on the broader structures, policies and institutions that perpetuate poverty.  And finally, let's heed the words of Muhammad Yunus, who so often points out that people are not poor because of their own failing, but rather because our society has failed them, has turned their back on them, has not provided the opportunities that all human beings deserve: access to equitable credit, to the internet, to good schools, to safe housing and neighborhoods, to representative government, to a healthy environment, and so on.

I feel it is imperative that I send these emails to all of you whenever we are struggling with a particular problem.  At the moment, I know that Jon is scrambling to finish the training manual, MarĂ­a is busy with a ton of clients, Kate is working to resolve issues with credit reporting and getting us audit-ready, Libby is building out our data systems, and I am trying to raise funds, build our scaling plan, etc.

But there's good news. We are about to increase our capacity with three new hires.  We are ahead of schedule with our fundraising.  Our board is getting stronger, as are our systems and policies.  And we are changing lives every day.

I promise that we will succeed in our mission, both because we have to, and because we are poised to.  

If I may quote the last sentences of Martin Luther King's last speech, given on April 4th, 1968, the night before his tragic asssassination (oh, but we cannot let his moral force die, we must unfurl it like a banner from our hearts!):

"Well I don't know what will happen now; we've got some difficult days ahead.  But it doesn't really matter now.  Because I've been to the mountain top.  I don't mind.  Like anybody, I would like to live a long life--longevity has its place.  But I'm not concerned about that now.  I just want to do God's will.  And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain top.  And I've seen the Promised Land!  I may not get there with you; but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land!  So I'm happy tonight, I'm not worrying about anything, I'm not fearing any man!  Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!"  And then he walked off the stage to furious applause, his passion emanating from him like steam, and the next day, unafraid and certain of his moral rectitude, he was shot to death.

Oh, but he is not dead!  His dream is alive in each of our hearts.  And so I say, without a shadow of a doubt, that we will make this happen--we will make a dent in poverty in this country and we will spread justice and goodness throughout the land!