June 4, 2021

The Good People

In the kitchen a few weeks ago, I was practicing what I was going to say at a speaking event. My family is accustomed to this, by now, and go about their business as I’m making dinner or getting ready for the week ahead. But my five year old son Ollie listens more than he lets on, and as I was speaking out loud about community, he asked me who I was going to be presenting to. I explained that the event was for our fundholders and partners — people who care deeply about Chattanooga and want to make our city a better place to live, for everyone. He nodded and asked if he could come to the event, too, because he wanted “to be with the good people.”

These words stuck with me, as Ollie’s words so often do! It’s a wonderful impulse: to come together and work with the good people.

At the Community Foundation we talk a lot about generosity. It’s easy to think of being generous in terms of giving, of charitable donations, but Ollie reminded me that the root of generosity is relationship to others. Just last week, more than 70 Chattanoogans participated in a Cost of Poverty Experience that we hosted, coming together to build empathy for our neighbors in need, to stop and think about how poverty feels for those who experience it every day.

We asked ourselves, and each other, how we can see those who are suffering in a generous light and with grace. As I listened to the voices in that room, I was reminded that when people give their time, treasure, and talent, it opens our minds and opens our hearts. When we give, we become more generous in our world view. In how we look at others, and how we see them.

This isn’t new. It’s a blessing that I see from fundholders and nonprofit partners all the time, and it gives me great hope for the future.

As 2018 comes to a close, the staff at the Community Foundation is deeply mindful of our own great fortune in being able to work with the good people. Thank you for your kindness and compassion, even love, for the city that we share and all people who live here. We look forward to many more moments of helping you extend a helping hand in the year to come.

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season, with deep gratitude,