Dominoes Episode Thirty-Seven

As the intern alumni gathered together the next day to discuss Charley’s legacy, Gianni (fourth class of interns) stood up and began to speak: “As many of you know Charley helped me pursue a degree in law. I’ve used that degree in our criminal justice system, but Charley also asked me to create a foundation to sustain his efforts. It’s called MAD Foundation (Make A Difference).”

“In Charley’s will, I want you to know the following:

  • He left his entire estate to the Foundation.
  • He asked that each year’s class of interns select one member of its class to serve as Trustees.
  • One-third of the Trustee membership will rotate out each year to maintain fresh perspectives.
  • He wanted us, as a group to establish how the Foundation would be managed.
  • He would like to continue the internship program and asked us to decide how that might be done.

Could we use our time today to fulfill Charley’s wishes for the Foundation?”

 Jake, an alumnus of the second year’s class of alumni agreed to facilitate the discussion. With 100 participants, he decided to break up the group in to 10 subgroups, with one member from each year’s alumni class. Before he asked them to convene as smaller groups, he asked them to reflect on their own experiences in making a difference. “What can we learn from our own stories to guide the development of the Foundation? Let’s come up with a set of generalizations to guide us.”

 After a few hours of discussions, the groups arrived at a set of generalizations they felt would be essential for the Foundation.

  • We want an organization that is consistently learning from all of our experiences and adapting as we learn.
  • We want to have an organization where every voice counts but is also action focused.
  • We want an organization that is a catalyst for change using the principles and values Charley taught us.
  • We want an organization where everyone makes a contribution of time and thought.
  • We want an organization that stays focused on our original missions: developing change makers.
  • We want an organization that is a good steward of the resources that Charley left us.

With these principles in mind, the group was able to come up with a plan for sustaining the internship program. The leadership issues were quickly resolved, and it didn’t take long to arrive at the initial set of Trustees.

As the meeting was closing, Tracie a member of the sixth class asked to speak. “I believe it’s time to share our stories with others, not to draw attention to ourselves but to inspire others in making a difference. I would like to start by doing interviews with each of the first year’s class. Then we can add to those stories as each class passes its 10 year anniversary.”

There was immediate agreement.

* * *

“Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all the answers.” – Socrates

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Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.