What If… We Also Invested in People

I love business. I also love technology. So, I read a blog called TechCrunch, which talks business, technology and who’s investing in what.

In particular, I love to read about start-ups and how they start up. Many start up with funding from venture capitalists, mostly wealthy individuals who take a risk that a start-up will end up with big pay-off. Recently, much buzz has focused on Color.com, a start-up which secured $41 million in venture capital funding.

On Sunday morning, I read this article in The New York Times (“Jeopardized Senior Centers Help Isolated Elderly“) about funding cuts affecting the city’s senior centers:

THERE are 256 city senior centers, feeding about 28,000 people a day, at a total cost of $86 million to the federal, state and city governments. The centers are a legacy of the 1960s, when stories of older people living on pet food shocked the city and the nation. Nearly one quarter of New Yorkers over age 65 live in poverty, according to the city’s Center for Economic Opportunity, which uses a formula that factors in the local cost of living.

Last year, state and city budget cuts threatened 75 of the centers and 29 were ultimately closed.

On Sunday night, I watched Sixty Minutes (a must watch for me every week), which introduced us to two individuals who work with little and yet touch so many: Elissa Montanti, who helps children wounded by war, and Coach Bob Hurley, who helps young men living in inner city Jersey City, N.J., know they are winners.

It’s fascinating to me what gets investments.

Prior to launching CareGifters, I wondered about going forward without any money. Then, I thought: I have a better resource than money. I have people. Like you and all the people you know. (Through CareGifters, we’re currently raising money to help Kristin. And, it’s easy to help; just donate $5. We’re at 30% of our goal so your $5 will make a difference. Read Kristin’s story and donate here.)

Bette’s nine-year-old daughter, Marah, wants to help with CareGifters so she’s organizing her own fundraiser. She’s going to sell candy bars through Hershey’s Fundraising program with the goal of raising $112. Bette purchased a CareGifters hat for Marah to wear as she pounds the pavement. (Marah will join me on Table Talk on April 9 at 9 a.m. CT (10 a.m. ET, 7 a.m PT) to talk about her fundraising campaign as well as her Library Project.)

So, as I think about Color.com, I think about our friends at Caring.com (who are all very nice and whose work I have happily promoted) who received $20 million between September 2007 and May 2010 for their site. The site serves a population in crisis that its owners commit to helping. As an individual who runs a website on a shoe-string budget, though, I know that $20 million could make such a huge difference in so many additional ways. What if they did something like CareGifters?

In essence: What if we invest in people as much as we invest in business and technology? It’s sort of like my argument about how much we fund research rather than programs that directly help. (Read When Researching for Tomorrow, Pay for Today’s Help.)

Kristin is a great investment. So is Marah. So are you.

What if we made investments so individuals, like you, could continue to do your good work? What if we invested in high schoolers so each had an opportunity for a higher education? What if we invested in individuals whose work helps make a peaceful world? What if we invested in young adults looking for work so they can learn and use their skills in meaningful ways ? What if we invested in older adults in our communities so they had a place to go every day?

What if every start-up and business receiving funding from venture capitalist had to earmark a percentage of their funding in order to help (or start) a project or program that makes a difference to individuals?

Ultimately, an investment in individuals creates communities that flourish. Prospering communities mean more money for businesses. What’s good for individuals is good for communities is good for businesses.

What if…

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4 Comments on "What If… We Also Invested in People"

Profile photo of The Unit Known as Shandi

Pretty sure that investing in resources to support in-home caregivers would save millions of dollars (billions) in nursing home fees, additional medical bills, etc. We (home caregivers) are experts at making the dollars stretch and still providing high-quality care. Now, off to the nursing home to visit Mom. 3 more days of my daily visits, and then she’ll be home!

Mar 29, 2011

Putting investments in inviduals who are motivated in helping out others/the community is more “profitable” because people hava the heart and the capability to improve and change the world for the better. And with additional funds, that’s going a long, long way.

Mar 29, 2011

The statistics of what many seniors have to endure, is both sad and alarming. I wish there could be more balance in funding; I like your idea of “earmarking”.

The good news is that if we all work together, we can make such a difference.

I’m grateful for an opportunity to help a caregiver receive the help they need. Caregivers deserve to feel better.

Mar 29, 2011

Denise, I love the passion you have for this site and for caregivers! You are making a difference in the world and so is Bette & her daughter Marah (actually, so are all caregivers). :-) People are a great investment and it irritates me when priorities (of society) get turned upside down.