Getting It: Challenging Ourselves for the Greater Good in 2017
From The ODA Blog
It's the nature of our work that what we do is ALWAYS VERY HARD.
For those old enough to remember the 1970's Olympics, Open Door America is the modern-day nonprofit equivalent of the East German women's gymnastics team (Google it). Win, lose, or draw, we always score really high on the "degree of difficulty" scale. Were it not for the generosity and support of others who continue to hang in there with us, we would have slipped off our pommel horse a long time ago.
Today, we want to recognize our good friend (and monthly donor) Terri Maloney of Food World/Food Trade News, a first-rate reporter and newspaper editor who also get its. When Terri ran across a story about Jeffrey Brown and Brown's Super Stores through her work as a food industry journalist, she immediately forwarded it to Open Door America as a word of encouragement.
As you will read in the compelling narrative by reporter Jane M. Von Bergen of the Philadelphia Inquirer (4/7/17), Mr. Brown and his 13 stores have made it a point since 2008 to hire people coming out of prison, many former drug dealers. With one in five incarcerated Americans locked up for a drug offense, this is no small matter. The beauty of the story is that Mr. Brown's stores have come to recognize the many sales and management skills that former drug dealers bring to the grocery business. Yes . . . seriously.
As you think about Jeffrey Brown and his courageous steps to make civic leadership and good business practices two sides of the same coin, ask yourself this critical 2017 question: What has your business, your congregation, your civic group, or your sphere of influence done in the past year to help ex-offenders restart their lives? We think Mr. Brown's inspired words as reported by Ms. Von Bergen may spring to mind:
"What we realized is that a lot of the people we hired were in the drug trade . . . . We were surprised that some of the people we hired have fairly good business skills. The drug trade is a business. It's an illegal business. You are buying. You are selling, You have inventory. You have some of the common problems that any retailer has. A lot of them are accelerating into management."
Thank you Mr. Brown for your courage, Ms. Von Bergen for your storytelling, and Ms. Maloney for your partnership!
Open Door Baltimore, a nonprofit that fights poverty by working with businesses to provide living-wage jobs, is expanding beyond the beltway. To better reflect the organization’s larger mission, the board of directors recently approved a new identity and logo.Read More