“Make a difference.” These words were written on the back of a business card that I received from someone recently. It’s become a catch phrase throughout the business and social communities as our neighborhoods and cities become part of a wider and more accessible global network. The words were not written as an afterthought in ink, they were included in the design of the card as a mantra for the organization. There are many who have made a difference in recent years, including Jane Jacobs, who just passed away on Tuesday. People are realizing again that one person or effort can greatly affect change, including the “emerging” leaders in our own community.
Many more people are currently feeling empowered to encourage our community to be more active and supportive of one another. At first glance, you would think that there was not much more to do. The Community Counts report compiled by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Region 2020, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham and the United Way of Central Alabama definitely speaks to the financial support provided by residents in Jefferson County. When you visit the page and view the PDF of the document, pay particular attention to pages 47-50 to see what I mean. Now there are requests for a different type of support. There are some projects now that current celebrate the ability of similar minded groups to work together for a common purpose.
Edsel Ford, II, chairman of the Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board, decided to ask members of Kiwanis and Rotary to raise that bar to the next level. He spoke to a joint meeting of the organizations yesterday encouraging not just financial support, but time and talents as well. Here’s a link to the story courtesy of the Birmingham News. His words, following recent meetings between government officials, neighborhood residents and like minded organizations, definitely place a new challenge upon the business community and their leaders. The best thing to do after laying the gauntlet down challenging the community for a greater level of interaction is for these organizations to lead the way and support efforts necessary to achieve that goal. This recent string of speeches and commentary is definitely beginning to show some effects. Let’s hope that the dialogue continues to occur in the coming months and years.
We’ll see what else comes to mind later on, if anything.