May 6, 2012
molly published this at 3:00 am
Over the past year or so that I have been writing for Liz on this platform, I seldom make direct reference to the nonprofit I established. It seems a bit self-indulgent, even though many of the topics I write about in “Independent Ideas” come directly from struggles I face as an entrepreneur in the nonprofit space. The nonprofit world itself is evolving into a hybrid model, with social entrepreneurism (#socent), social capitalism (#socap) and triple bottom line models (#tbl or #3bl) all attempting to reinvent the way people invest in each other.
Because, really, that’s where real wealth is found: in each other. Each of us are resources: vast, untapped mines of creativity, talent, love and expression just waiting to be recognized and channeled.
But I would have NEVER, ever have reached this platform without the influence of a wonderful community at SOBCon, founded in part by Liz Strauss. Right now, I’m typing this out before I get on a train that will take me to Chicago where I will reconnect with a vibrant community of impassioned, focused and brilliant people, all of whom care about the world around them.
They each have a different platform of business that reflects their perspective, but each has played a part in the success of Women With Drive Foundation.
Fast forward to earlier this year when we awarded a car to a woman who was homeless in May 2011. When we, as a nonprofit, invested in her, she transformed. One of the testimonials we received from one of her caseworkers read:
“D. was in my office last week, and spoke about what a difference the car has made in her life. She was a different person than the shy, defeatist, underachiever I met a year ago. I knew getting a car would have a big impact on her ability to thrive financially, but I didn’t expect the difference I saw in her spirit. Way to go! “
Sometimes, we need to believe in other people before they believe in themselves.
This certainly was the case with me. I have become the person I am today, yes, because the raw material exists within me ~ sure. However, we oftentimes don’t recognize our own capacity or abilities without the loving mirrors provided by others.
Terry St. Marie and Liz Strauss have created a means for people to gather in a safe space to become their best selves ~ to define for themselves what it is they wish to become and provide the environment to facilitate that happening. The heavy lifting remains the responsibility of the individual, but no one, not a single one of us, ever succeeds on his or her own power on his or her own.
During conversations at SOBCon, Liz will refer to this as “building a barn,” and as a native Iowan, I have literally seen neighbors build barns together. I’ve seen people bring in harvests when a neighbor has a heart attack or a death in the family. Each lends their strength to help support the other.
Many people have asked me, “What *is* SOBCon?” It’s difficult to describe, and not because the attendees are given a secret decoder ring and handshake upon registration. It is an inclusive gathering of people and professionals. That said, it’s difficult to quantify, because alchemy is always difficult to identify.
When most of you read this, I will be meeting with the SOBCon community in “Batman’s Bedroom” in the Hotel 71 located in downtown Chicago. Women With Drive Foundation is one of the nonprofits featured in their “Give Back Session.” I have no idea what magic will happen there, but I can promise you that my life (and the lives of the women we serve) will be forever changed as a result.
That’s some powerful stuff. I am a blessed person and I look forward to doing my part to continue building a barn that includes many more people.
Have a great Sunday, everyone!
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation).