Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Community Investment

All too often American society in general and its media evaluate activities solely on dollar amounts. We seem to value our organizations on the bottom line rather than their contributions to the stockholders as well as to the community. Who are the analysts who have decided that this is the way to evaluate activity? Why do we allow this behavior to be taught in our business schools? Why do we accept this shallow thinking from our leaders?

To compare education systems based solely on dollars belittles the value of other assts such as community involvement. The costs of behaviors in the civic space vary all over the spectrum. What has become clear is that when there is a sharing of the process involved, the total dollar costs as well as the individual costs appear to be less. Educating our children is so much less per child when the parents, teachers, students, and community have made a commitment to participate and where the community is not in flux. This is especially true in private school education as well as in charter schools. Public school communities where there has been parental and community support and where there is not significant flux in the community cost significantly less and appear to provide a stronger education than other communities.

Our non profits make a point of publicizing dollar donation levels and celebrating the big dollar donors. What of the people that give of their life rather than of their excesses. We all need to invest in our communities but there is less need for dollar investment and greater need for intellectual and hands on investment. It is not to say that money is not needed but rather that non monetary investment is so important and should in the forefront and not be disregarded or be playing second fiddle.