Monday, August 24, 2009

How In The World Am I Supposed To Do This???

Altruism. I kinda knew what the word meant because I had heard it used here and there. As I was lying on the couch in one of my many life-contemplating sessions, the word popped into my head. Altruism. Altruistic. Is that the word that describes me and what I'm trying to do these days? Is that what's gotten me in the place where I am right now?

Altruism (from Latin: alter: the other) is the deliberate pursuit of the interests or welfare of others or the public interest.

Yep, that's it. That's what keeps me working at this organization, hoping that one day I'll be able to build this place up to the point where things will be running so well they won't even need me anymore. Struggling with the whole system from board members to co-workers all while struggling to pay my bills all for the sake of the good of the community. Altruistic indeed.

It's also the force that contributes to me wanting to heap a serving of every good cause onto my plate. NAACP, BSU, MCATF, YP's, business ventures, volunteering, church activities, you name it. It supports a good cause? I'd love to be a part of it! How can I help out?! Altruistic.

Just today I stopped by the local AIDS Outreach office and sat and talked with the staff who runs the organization. They are interested in reaching out to the Black community. . . I am interested in helping them. As we sat and talked about the struggles with our respective boards, funders, and general non-profit organization challenges, I thought about how crazy it is that I'm pursuing a post-graduate education to specifically go into this field. This is the type of work I have a passion for and there's really nothing else I see myself doing for the rest of my life than "giving back" in whatever form that might take.

The problem is, while I'm giving back, who in the world is going to be giving to me? To my wallet and bank account more specifically. Everyone knows that there isn't usually much money in the non-profit sector. It's hard enough to secure funding for your particular program, but what? You wanna get PAID too? Dream on.

I don't want to sell out my altruistic dreams for money. Nope, I'd rather they play in the same sandlot and both come home with me at the end of the day. I would take good care of both of them, making sure my dreams flourish into mature realities and keeping the money safe and well guarded.

But how is this going to work?