Affinity and Beyond – Episode 36

Brianna received her next story to write, Henry said to her: “This one will be a challenge. Baxter has disappeared, and you will need to use your investigative skills to find him. I can tell you a part of his story, but I’m concerned about what happened to him.”

Baxter came from a privileged family, but refused to live the privileged lifestyle they planned for him. His parents wanted to enroll him in an elite academy, but he refused to attend. His parents agreed that he could join Henry’s foundation. Henry accepted him but required that his parents set up a trust fund for Baxter. Henry also insisted that he be allowed to select the fund manager. Henry had seen too many trust funds mismanaged.

What Henry didn’t realize at the time was that Baxter would discover a talent for financial investing by working with his trust fund manager. While the trust fund manager had responsibility for the fund investment decisions, Baxter had a unique talent for finding good investments.

At age 18 Baxter gained access to his trust fund, and working with his trust fund manager set up an investment forum that specialized in a clientele that other firms would not support. Their clientele were labor unions, churches, charitable organizations and like groups who had minimal investment experience. They had an ethical dimension to their investment philosophy that was very compatible with the social purpose missions of their clientele.

The investment fund was incredibly successful and was sought out by others as a fund manager. Baxter held firm to his beliefs about who he wanted to serve. Suddenly, Baxter left the firm and turned it over to his trust fund manager. There were rumors that something was amiss but these rumors were found to be untrue. No one knew where Baxter was. It didn’t seem likely that he was living the good life, but no one knew where he was.

Brianna, after considerable effort, found him. He had set up another investment fund specializing in loaning money to small family farms at extremely low interest rates. Baxter, by this time, had the capital to not have to worry about loan defaults. He also bought a food processing company and guaranteed the farmers a reliable market and price for their farm yields.

The food processing company had only one type of customer: the nation’s food banks. Henry sought out food banks which not only provided food but hope to its clients. He hoped that food could become a catalyst for overcoming despair and providing encouragement to those who lost hope.

All of Baxter’s efforts were carried out through a small team of trusted persons who believed in quiet philanthropy. When Brianna finally got to talk with Baxter, she had to promise to only share her story with Henry and no one else.

Brianna couldn’t wait to have her next interview with Henry. Baxter, like others she interviewed, was not a disappointment, at least in her eyes. She wanted to know what Henry thought.

* * *

“Most of us prefer to be as quiet as possible about giving, because every time it’s publicized that we do something, if it’s something of the nature of giving, we’ll be doubly besieged, and you really get sick of being always criticized no matter what you do.”
– Alex Haley

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