• Fred's Blog

    It’s Hard to Say It

    It’s Hard to Say It   Last week I was in Charleston, South Carolina, for the annual conference of The Philanthropy Roundtable. I was one of three speakers on a panel about “sunsetting,” the closing down of a private foundation. The audience was mostly family foundations working through whether or not to shutter their foundations and distribute the remaining assets after a period of time. Families choose to do this for any number of reasons but primarily out of concern that succeeding generations or future staff and trustees would not adhere to the founding donors’ intent. Of course, there are other considerations, but this is almost always what the discussion comes around to eventually. However, one of the questions was especially interesting to me as it was not…

  • Fred's Blog

    It's Hard to Say It

    It’s Hard to Say It   Last week I was in Charleston, South Carolina, for the annual conference of The Philanthropy Roundtable. I was one of three speakers on a panel about “sunsetting,” the closing down of a private foundation. The audience was mostly family foundations working through whether or not to shutter their foundations and distribute the remaining assets after a period of time. Families choose to do this for any number of reasons but primarily out of concern that succeeding generations or future staff and trustees would not adhere to the founding donors’ intent. Of course, there are other considerations, but this is almost always what the discussion comes around to eventually. However, one of the questions was especially interesting to me as it was not…

  • Fred's Blog

    Forgetting the Little that Divides

    Two devoted friends and brilliant minds — John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — fell out with each other over politics, personal slights and both feeling betrayed by the other. The feud not only embittered both, causing them to abandon all correspondence and relationship of any kind for many years, but it troubled their closest companions who could not imagine these giants of the Revolution becoming estranged for the rest of their lives. In 1809 a mutual signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush, had a dream about the two former presidents, wrote it down, and sent it to both men. In the dream he saw the alienated statesmen…

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  • Fred's Blog

    The Quiet Revival

    As a Baptist in Texas, I have often heard missions organizations promoting the urgency for church planting in areas of our country considered completely secular – cities with low church attendance and little visible Christian influence. Considered “hard soil” or “godless” or “lost territory”, cities like Boston, Portland, New York and Seattle have attracted waves of young planters sent by their home churches and denominations to re-evangelize these “foreign” places. I am reminded of a friend from Georgia who, upon returning from a trip to New England, told me there were no grocery stores in the entire region because she did not see a single Piggly Wiggly. We see what we expect…

  • Fred's Blog

    A Love Letter

    It was 42 years ago when Carol and I last stood as a young and newly married couple with the people of Park Street Church in Boston and sang, “Our God Our Help in Ages Past” at the close of the service. Two Sundays ago, as visitors, we sang that hymn from the same hymnal. The congregation was thinned out and older than I remembered, but their voices were as strong and still filled the sanctuary as before as if those no longer there were joining in. Not ghosts or echoes but a great cloud of witnesses. As we sang I thought about that hymn (and others) as a metaphor for life. There is a story moving…