Forty minutes south of Orlando, I sat in an old prison “classroom” with 40 men all working towards improvement, change and new beginnings. While an observer could easily tell the outward difference between the volunteers and the men in “blues,” that same observer could not have easily identified how many of us were benefiting from the teachings of Paul, the once incarcerated man. To be human is the need to move forward, make progress, or stop and start doing certain things. Metaphorically, we all have attitudes, bars, and mindsets that hold us back. Standing in front of the room, Paul’s words and example were inspiring to us all.
Finances are a big concern for each of these men as they look to forge new beginnings. There is lots to say and do around this issue, but for now I think it’s important we acknowledge that most of us think money is the goal. But we can see example after example of how money doesn’t bring ultimate peace, joy or fulfillment. As Paul shared from his lived experience, he emphasized that change starts with mindset, heart, and action.
Bringing that experience to my own view of money and our mission at CommonGood, it starts with mindset. Nine years ago, I was sitting on my couch healing from back surgery and a life reset, when I plugged in a DVD about an investment in Affordable Housing. It was the words of two resident’s that challenged my mindset. “They have given me my dignity back” and “I am so excited to have people at my house now.” But it was the action of risking my capital for the sake of others, and for myself, that changed my mindset and heart.
As we move into 2023, I would encourage each of you to step into this movement of using your investment capital to not only make money, but also do good and align it with your values. All investments have impact. It’s a matter of intentionality, measurement, and reporting that set the principles for sustained impact. Figure out what you care about, research the opportunities, and take action to invest accordingly. Do it for yourself. Do it for your clients.