• Fred's Blog

    For Sunsetting Foundations, a Limited Life but a Perpetual Contribution

    There was a time when families who were establishing private foundations rarely thought about an end to the foundation. They assumed what they had created would last (as intended) in perpetuity from generation to generation. What they discovered, as John D. Rockefeller observed years ago, is that “perpetuity is a very long time.” I have been talking with families and executives lately about the growing number of private foundations deciding to “sunset” after a predetermined number of years. The primary reason for this is the concern about the mission and values of the foundation shifting away over time from the original intent of the donor. There are other reasons, like…

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  • Fred's Blog

    Our Peculiar Game

    The philosopher Jacques Barzun wrote years ago, “Whoever would understand the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball the rules and realities of the game.” From its very beginning during the Civil War, it has been the defining sport of America. “The game of Base Ball has now become beyond question the leading feature of the outdoor sports of the United States It is a game which is peculiarly suited to the American temperament and disposition; the nine innings are played in the brief space of two and one half hours or less. From the moment the first striker takes his position and poises his bat it has an…

  • Fred's Blog

    One Thing Can Lead to Another

    More than once in this blog I have written about the differences between the theological roots of older and younger evangelicals. The older have been the inheritors of the belief that our primary task is taking the Gospel to the whole world through evangelism. Once the Gospel had been heard by every nation and every tongue, the Great Commission would be complete and Christ’s return would follow. In the last few decades the holistic message of the Gospel has been given more emphasis, opening up broader opportunities for medical missions, education, poverty relief, microfinance, business development and social justice. But, most of this work has been in areas outside the…

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  • Fred's Blog

    Imaginary People

    “In Port William only strangers and preachers and traveling salesmen ever went to anybody’s front door.” That line from Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow” fairly describes my own neighborhood where I grew up. It was the side door leading into the kitchen – the heart of the house – that was the place we went in and came out. People coming to the front door were those we did not know, but people coming to the side were friends, neighbors and family. The side door was for people we trusted. I’ve been turning that over in my mind this week while studying the power of stories. They come through the side…