The following email was a bit of free form thought processing that stemmed from a dinner conversation with friends about Windsor Circle’s pending commitment to participate in the National Circles program (being implemented locally by REAL Durham, of which Mel Williams is an active contributor).
It involves us making an 18 month, bi-weekly commitment to a single family. It’s a big commitment. Thoughts below….
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Matt Williamson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 7:53 AM
Subject: National Circles program
This is the program that REAL Durham program we were discussing last night. http://www.endpovertydurham.org/3.html
- Positive Reactions
- It’s nice to see a company making a deeper commitment
- It’s a good reflection of who the people in WC are as individuals, and who the company is as a group of individuals
- This type of commitment is what makes Durham’s brand of entrepreneurship unique.
- Negative Reactions
- You might not get out of it what you think you will.
- Companies may not be set up to deliver these sorts of services, and this could lead to some degree of failure for both the family and the company.
- This was top down / mandated. Is WC doing this b/c Matt wanted it done?
- There’s only 4 people involved in the core group. What about everyone else?
- The great white knight… you think you can ride in and be smart and make change without really knowing the people or the environment. Lots of examples of this failing at a massive scale.
- Why are we doing this? What attracted me / us to this (versus more standard corporate volunteerism, or volunteerism at all)
- What are the risks of a for-profit entity doing this versus a non-profit?
- What’s my role?
- What do I hope to get out of this?
- What value am I giving to the family, to the team, to the community, to my company?
- Companies don’t do enough
- Too focused on numbers, not focused enough on people
- Companies / business people aren’t to be trusted
- When engaged in community effort, company’s have ulterior motives (mostly around taking credit for doing good in a community, even if the good isn’t that impactful, and especially if that token effort is being used to distract from negative community impact driven by the company’s business practices).