More Than Money
Issue #23

Partners in Social Change

Table of Contents

“The Untold Story”

Each evening, my son Micah and I delight in reading stories aloud. For months, we have been deep into folktales from around the world. Micah adores the giants and magic, but I continue to be aghast at how many of the tales pit the evil, greedy, rich nobleman against the kind, virtuous, poor peasant. Story after story, country after country, relentlessly.

"Hoo, boy," I think to myself. "Where are the stories of the good- hearted rich." Well, this issue of More than Money has those stories: of wealthy people who do not follow the bad guy legacy or even accept the age-old role of controlling benefactor. Nor do they settle for squirreling up in the private haven of their personal lives. Instead, they find meaning by working with others to fight injustices, better their communities, increase tolerance, and defend the earth. Whether working as business leaders, non-profit board members, volunteers, paid activists, philanthropists, or social investors, all are partners in community renewal, often working with diverse groups of people to advance a common dream.

The obstacles to such an active public life are many. As Paul Roget Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time aptly puts it, "Whatever impulses toward involvement we might have, they're dampened by a culture that demeans idealism, enshrines cynicism, and makes us feel naive for caring about our fellow human beings or the planet we inhabit." In addition, there are the never-ending distractions: our car needs repair, and there's jelly all over the kids, and we're already too busy, thank you. Because of these factors, it is as frequent for rich people to give up on social engagement as quickly as anybody else. The result, however, is a nagging and painful sense of powerlessness.

Civic involvement can be one of the most deeply rewarding pursuits of our lives--but no one can promise it will be easy. Those featured in this issue have all faced doubts, fears, and the temptation to create a private sanctuary against the erosion of community and caring around them. Yet, each has found a way to stay involved. Although we present no simple answers or quick recipes for success, we hope these stories give you encouragement. If you choose to accept the challenge of moving beyond your own hesitations and isolation, a life of greater purpose, positive influence, and engaged partnership in a community for change awaits you.

Someday, when Micah is reading aloud to his grandchildren, I hope that some of the children's books will be true stories of the troubled times at the turn of the millennium-- adventure tales about the era when many caring people, including people with wealth, jumped into the fray and helped turn the tide.

- anonymous author

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