Doing Well and Doing Good

Doing Well and Doing Good

Reinvesting is at the heart of the world’s economic system. Money is only a means of reinvestment exchange – reinvestment with the hope of a greater gain.

When I was seven years old, my father, a landscape contractor who propagated much of his own landscape materials, gave me my first job. A job for money that is – not just my regular chores on the farm. My dad knew I wanted, more than anything else in the world, a Wilson baseball glove. This was before marketing departments realized the value of getting the names of big name players emblazoned on their products. Wilson was all I needed to know.

In the landscaping business, the second stage of plant propagation was to pot the recently germinated (rooted) clippings into their first soil – bound by 2” clay pots. My dad hired me to do this on piece work – ½ cent for each cutting that I potted. That equated to 200 potted plants for one dollar – but having a way to actually get that Wilson glove was an incredible feeling. With many hours of labor and 1,960 pots later, I was able to exchange my earnings for a $9.80 baseball glove. If proof is needed, I still have an iconic 2nd grade school photo of me holding my Wilson at my chest. The play and pride I got from that glove was to me a great gain.

Life is about making choices – making exchanges – reinvesting what we have gained in exchange for food, shelter, family security, community improvement, or “making the world a better place.”

Combining my cabinet making and carpentry skills and my wife’s administrative skills allowed us over twenty years to purchase and pay off the debt on our first house in North Carolina’s Triangle area. When we moved to Charlotte to begin community development work, we felt it was important to live in the community we were serving. We thought we might be moving back to our house in the Triangle area after five or so years. Therefore, instead of selling our first house, we decided to rent it out.

It’s now twenty-five years later. Our original house while providing us a modest monthly income has appreciated in value. We’ve finally realized we’re not moving back. We’ve begun to think of selling. Early in those considerations we realized that our government would rather significantly tax the appreciated value of our first house – now considered an investment property.

We briefly but uncomfortably considered relocating back to our first house to establish residency to avoid a capital gains assessment. That thought never felt good. Happily through sharing our discomfort with friends, we made contact with a tax attorney and learned about Charitable Remainder Trusts*. A CRT is a vehicle through which we can essentially reinvest a portion of what could have been our capital gains tax assessment into a worthy nonprofit organization of our choosing and to have a greater amount for us in our retirement through an annual annuity. That’s what I call “doing well and doing good.”

We are designating Center for Sustainable Change as the beneficiary of the CRT we are establishing. But that is only the beginning. Because of this initial “planned giving” contribution, CSC has formed a “Legacy Community” available to anyone wanting to invest in the long-term, growing awareness of and engagement with the Three Principles that CSC provides. CSC is planning to continue growing with the rapidly-expanding, worldwide community that is awakening access to peace and happiness for all.

Follow your wisdom about the reinvestment of your life’s efforts. Consider first your own financial security. Consider the continuing financial future of your family. But also consider the financial viability of sharing such a life changing, family changing, and community changing understanding. With knowledge and planning, all these considerations can work together for mutual advantage.

If you have an interest in exploring the possibilities, please send a confidential email to Legacy@CenterForSustainableChange.Org. We would love to help you make a reinvestment with the consideration of resulting greater gain.

[*Information about Charitable Remainder Trusts can be found at the following website: The information shared in this article about financial instruments is simply a description of my personal experience and is not a recommendation or inducement toward taking a specific course of action. Tax-related financial decisions should be made in consultation with a qualified professional.]

Community in the Midst of Chaos: A Special Message of Hope

Community in the Midst of Chaos: A Special Message of Hope

I’ve received numerous emails and texts from people around the world expressing concern and care for us in Charlotte in light of the recent “State of Emergency” here. Those communications are welcome and supportive.

But even more, they are indicative of the value and strength created when people connect with each other – connections that honor each person’s wisdom and resilience. In that connection common unity is experienced – “comm unity” is realized.

It may be difficult to imagine during such tragic violence, but there is value in that people are trying to communicate. Often, because of a long-time absence of true communication and resulting pent-up frustrations, efforts toward communication itself can take on disrespectful forms of violence. Nonetheless, people are trying to communicate.

In Charlotte, communication is being recognized more and more community-wide as essential. There are many people who have been coming together in peace for discussion and understanding. The news outlets do not often carry this fact, but it is happening across our city. In fact, CSC’s own Social Media Content Creator, A.M. Stewart, organized “Meditation for Love and Healing” supporting Black Lives Matter during this past week of protests. (Fox News got the event name wrong.)

Key to my efforts is the sharing of how mutual respect is the most important element of true communication. Until every person sees every other person as truly, totally equal – each having unlimited access to wisdom, each having the ability to contribute to the health and resilience of the entire community, then true communication has not been achieved.

It is my thought that despite the violence and ugliness of recent days, our community is in fact moving toward – not always in a straight line, but nonetheless moving toward– greater respect. Let us pray that this movement can be achieved with the least possible resistance.

What are you doing for others? - Martin Luther King Jr. This schism of thought is not unique to Charlotte. This is a national issue affecting every community. It only takes one unfortunate and misunderstood event to initiate personal thinking that can create extreme emotions and lead to unhealthy actions.

Each of us can help our communities understand the inside-out nature of life, that our personal thoughts about external events are what creates our emotions and actions, and that everyone can go beyond their personal thinking and hear wisdom and see clearly the most peaceful and healing courses of action.

What are you doing now in your community? Initiate a discussion group, meet with other community leaders, write a letter to the editor, or speak at a City Council meeting. Everyone can be involved. Everyone can do something to encourage communication and respect – to create the space – the pause – to allow wisdom to surface – to listen deeply to others allowing collective, community wisdom to surface.

Let us at CSC know what you have done or will be doing. We’ll share your thoughts and actions with others.

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