Investing in Changing the World
Gates uses his foundation as a charitable venture capital company. He invests money in ideas that will change the world.
I was thinking of this, while I was sitting at a press conference in an ornate room of a museum just outside downtown Los Angeles. On stage there were the political elites, from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to three Los Angeles County Supervisors, and a dozen other political leaders from around the county.
The television cameras were focused on the announcement that Los Angeles had just adopted an aggressive plan to end chronic and veterans homelessness within five years.
We are ready to ask this question in Savannah, GA.
It’s soon to be election time – our Mayoral & City Council elections are shaping up. We want to make this an issue for the campaign!
One of our Aldermen who is also a candidate for Mayor this time made a comment at a recent Reception for the new City Manager regarding the price tag for the reception. It was reported to be $7500. His comment on a local TV station newscast at 11pm the night of the event was that this money could have better been spent to serve the needs of the homeless (maybe he said feed the homeless) but whatever his intentions he is to be commended for raising the issue.
Now maybe it can be an election issue – no campaign platforms have directly addressed this issue yet, however we hope to make it a subject of questioning for the various campaigns – all of them, not just the Mayoral campaigns. Because it is all of Council who will be considering action on this issue.
Our issue however is NOT what the City is spending. It is what the community, faith-based, business sectors (tourism included) & individuals (thru their volunteering) could be doing to support the needs of the homeless.
We seek to create an open, transparent dialog on the topic.
We seek to promote outside investment in the solutions to homelessness.
We will present our ideas to those seeking to seriously engage in the investment that is called for.
Please take a look at the programs that were put in place in Los Angeles, the city with the highest levels of homelessness. They are linked to above in the quoted area & in the link at the bottom of this post.
If they can create not a 10 year plan (which most communities & the federal government have supported) but a 5 (FIVE) year plan, then others can too.
Their model & plan will be reviewed in great detail but the basis for this challenge is that if a community as large as LA can engage their business sector through their United Way then Savannah can do some similar engagement of the business sector.
Do we have a vested interest in ending homelessness?
Is there a “Value of Zero”? (watch this Youtube Video to get a perspective of our adoption of this mantra):[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhSqI77aLHU]
Does the business community need a return on their investment? Does there have to be something in it for them?
Well – we seek to challenge the status quo in this area!
We are coming forward now to raise this as an issue for the community to come together on – not to divide the community but to seek to bring us together on a common ground.
It is fine to bring the Love aspect to the discussion but we must now bring the common sense, business value for the investment into solving these issues.
We MUST turn this into a discussion of results not one of business vs the homeless because they are supposedly affecting the (tourism) business sector.
There is MUCH to be gained we feel for the tourism & business sectors to say to our visitors that “We get it” – we understand that many of you have homelessness issues in your own cities or towns – it is affecting us all more deeply than ever now.
If our visitors see that we care, are putting together programs to educate them on the best ways to deal with homelessness when they see it in our city, then we may just stand out as a caring community that comes together to address the needs of the most needy of our residents.
After all, like it or not, homeless people are residents too – they may not pay taxes (yet), they may sit on our park benches (as I was told today in Forsyth Park by a resident who complained about the benches being “hogged” by the homeless), but they deserve a hand up not a hand out.
We have shared quite a bit here, but we will make it real for people as we progress through this election campaign season.
Stay tuned! More to come…
- What is stopping us from ending homelessness? – Tweet from: @Ntl_Homeless (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)
- Los Angeles Confronts Homelessness Reputation (thegivingspiritblog.wordpress.com)