I spent a good chunk of yesterday working on next month’s Making Change podcast.
I thought I was interviewing a foundation leader who happened to also be a Zen teacher. What I did not expect was his sharing with me on air that this is his last week at his foundation post.
And what I absolutely could not have imagined was the reason: He is leaving to live and work full time within a Buddhist community, contemplating the oft-unspoken side of the world of philanthropy – issues of financial inequity, the connection between money and power, the ethics of it all.
During the conversation, it was hard to remain dispassionate. This man was speaking the exact truth of my top priority during this sabbatical! I only hope I kept my cool, because inside, I was jumping up and down like a 5 year old!
I do know that sitting down to write and record the close I do for all my podcasts – summarizing what I learned from the conversation – it took me several iterations before I had purged my overriding theme, which was, “Can you believe how awesome this is?!”
Then today, this month’s episode of the podcast came out, hot off the presses at the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In this episode, it was Phil Henderson who had surprised me. Phil heads the Surdna Foundation, having spent decades in social change work in Eastern Europe, including a long stint as VP of operations for the German Marshall Fund.
What surprised me in that interview? That Phil’s consistent theme throughout our conversation was the need for patience. No buzzwords-du-jour. Just patience. Wow.
So in the past two days, my podcast has led me to enjoy long conversations from a deeply spiritual and ethical place, both times with leaders of foundations. And I’m smiling to think that however unlikely that might be, truly whatever is not physically impossible is possible.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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