I have reached the point where my friends no longer want to hear my opinions on my pet nonprofit issue areas. Either that, or they have heard me so many times that they can recite my soliloquies back to me, sometimes word for word. It has gradually occurred to me that I need a new audience. And so, true to form for my type A self, I made a list of folks to invite to lunch, accompanied by a few talking points that I feel would segway the conversation nicely towards my agenda. Here are the three that presently top this list:
Colbert I. King-- Sitting with this Washingtonian at the counter of Ben’s Chili Bowl would set the stage for my high school drop out speech. I know Colbert would hear me out, since he steadfastly devotes his weekly columns in the Washington Post to slamming the DC Youth Rehabilitation Service office and its historic claim to fame, the Oak Hill Detention Center. Colbert understands that leaving high school is a recipe for a cycle of decline-- both individual and community-- and that our city and others should engage every nonprofit that endeavors to staunch the flow of students leaving the nation’s pubic schools without their diplomas.
Bill Gates-- Nonprofits need money, and Bill Gates has some. Surprisingly, he seems to have committed himself to giving it away. However, his donation strategy is clouded with layer after layer of subject matter experts, scientific studies, and high profile staff with heavy hitting resumes. I would not ask Bill to change everything, as there is validity underlying portions of his strategy. However, there are limitations to this approach, and I would definitely endeavor to make Bill see that to truly serve the sector, he needs to distance his money from what I believe to be the cult of authority.
President Barack Hussein Obama-- Obviously I would have to be strategic here. With a finite lunch hour and seemingly infinite number of issue areas where our President possesses expertise, I will need to select a topic that is advantageous to my priority areas. Off the cuff, I think I will ask him to talk to me abut his time spent as a community organizer. Although I read his stories in Dreams of My Father, I want to engage his passion for his current work, which I fervently believe must have started with his front line service work. I want to talk to him about more explicitly setting his presidential decisions within this framework--and in doing so, push more front line service workers into politics and maybe, just maybe, push politicians and law-makers into service work.