• Fred's Blog

    I Have The Gift Of Giving

      I have been given the gift of giving.  It’s not something to brag about or take pride in.  It’s not like I worked to get it or ever really paid much attention to it. Ever since I was a kid I have loved seeing what money can do – especially when it fits neatly into an opportunity.  Not when I was young  but when I was in my 50’s I became so interested in how to use it that I had a friend do an analysis of what it is about giving that makes me enjoy it.  I was curious about those things that gave me a special satisfaction.  In…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Immigrant Advantage

      Several years ago our local Chamber of Commerce brought in a renowned demographer to talk with a large group of business and civic leaders about the future impact of immigration (legal and illegal) on our community of 100 000 people.  “Your community will soon experience the full force of a tsunami of brown young unemployed fertile sometimes violent non-English speaking immigrants from the South. It is going to affect every institution and as it has everywhere else the economic resources of your city and region.”  I raised my hand and asked him if he thought there were any opportunities or should we all move to Switzerland and wait it…

  • Fred's Blog

    Why Google Isn’t Making Us Stupid – or Smart

    I enjoy being overwhelmed by large numbers – especially about information.  Knowing that last year the world’s information base is estimated to have doubled every eleven hours doesn’t keep me awake.  I get relaxed by reading that 300 billion emails 200 million tweets ” and 2.5 billion text messages course through our digital networks every day.  I know it bothers some of my friends – but mostly those who wonder how they are going to keep up with all of it. Who are they kidding?  The glut of information is not only unprecedented but completely out of control. Links have replaced learning and we are all headed toward the abyss…

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  • Fred's Blog

    Requiem

    My mother died in 2004 and my father passed away in 2007.  It was not sudden or tragic but the end of a long life for each of them.  Dad had been sick for several years and my mother had died from Parkinson’s three years before so it was not unexpected.  Friends had told me that each of the children would grieve in particular ways and there was nothing that could predict how that grief would affect us.  There are undoubtedly some principles of grief and some common patterns we can read about in books but our friends were right.  Each of the three children had their own relationship with…

  • Fred's Blog

    Influence – Not What It Used To Be

    I grew up in a time in publishing where getting Billy Graham’s endorsement on a book was not exactly a guarantee of respectable sales but it was key.  While his was probably not the first example of the importance of endorsement (Arthur Godfrey and Art Linkletter had already blazed the trail there) it was certainly one of the first in the evangelical world.  As everyone knows after that the power of imprimatur moved from Billy Graham to Chuck Colson Bill Hybels Rick Warren and now Tim Keller. In fact many books published today have several pages of endorsements from a wide variety of influential pastors thought leaders consultants artists celebrities…

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  • Fred's Blog

    This Much and No More

      I love Jason Russell and the work of Invisible Children.  I love the work of Scott Harrison and Charity:Water.  I love the work of Gary Haugen and IJM; Jena Nardella and Blood:Water; Peter Greer and HOPE International; and (increasingly) many, many others.  I especially like that my younger friends care about these issues and I support their work in whatever way I can.  I read about the ravages of malaria, poverty, and sex-trafficking. I read daily of the atrocities inflicted on defenseless women and children.  I have seen them first-hand.  I have taught Bonhoeffer and the words he speaks and the willing sacrifice of his life more than challenge…

  • Fred's Blog

    Collaboration – Count The Cost

      I have been part of a number of conversations in the last few weeks about the possibility of donors collaborating on projects – both locally and internationally.  While we often encourage our grantees to collaborate it’s too often true that neither we nor they know what that means or what is expected.  Like many words, it means something different in the mind of everyone involved and we often start working on collaborations without taking the time to define it and to get on the same page.  Years ago I read a paper by the Council on Foundations about the several levels of the continuum of collaboration – from the…

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  • Fred's Blog

    The Harvest Is Plentiful But The Workers Are Few(er)

      I read with interest the news of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association laying off 50 of their staff – or 10% of their total.  In the announcement was their plan to focus more of their resources on internet evangelism and by implication away from the more traditional activities of the association.  I’m assuming that means crusades and the retreat/conference ministry of the Cove among other things. This is the second time in three years they have reduced their staff.  It’s not a reflection of hard times financially as the BGEA is probably one of the best funded ministries in the world with a 2010 budget of almost $128 million…

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  • Fred's Blog

    How to Speak at The Gathering

      Every year I get about 200 inquiries from ministries and Gathering participants asking to talk about the possibility of their organization or their favorite ministry making a presentation at The Gathering.  While The Gathering is not a grant making foundation it does have one asset that is valuable to ministry leaders: exposure to present and potential funders.  The opportunity to be visible with those who attend the annual conference is a rare one and I understand that.  As well if a ministry is doing it’s development job right ” it will have Gathering participants asking me and the program committee to invite them to speak – whether it is…

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