Yesterday I spent an hour via video conference with 25 students from the Honors College at the University of Alabama. Incoming freshman there are assigned The Cathedral Within to read over the summer and they wanted to have a discussion about finding careers in community service that would enable them to have the most powerful impact.
They had a lot of great questions about whether nonprofit work can sustain itself and get to scale, about what kind of investments nonprofits need to make in their own capacity, and about the organizational leadership required to create built-to-last organizations. They were all freshman, from all parts of the country, just beginning their education, and determined to chart a course of service and civic engagement but with real concerns about the sustainability of such a path.
It was a timely reminder that the consequences of Community Wealth Ventures' pioneering work go beyond the impressive results we get for our clients. A new generation, as represented by the students I met with yesterday, is looking to us to make their hopes real – and to create possibilities that have not yet existed for them to change their communities and the world.