Echo-Boomer Legacy Rises From The Ashes

Thanks to a great woman boomer legacy leader, Marlo Thomas, for her article on the young women who lost parents during the 09/11/01 events of 10 years ago.  The "Daughters of 9/11" she profiles and asks us to listen to are also legacy leaders

I was particularly struck by the example of Susan Esposito Lombardo, whose 51 year old father, Billy "Scoop" Esposito went to work that morning at financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald. She was getting ready for school and had a phone conversation with him at around 8:20 am - the last she would ever have. At 8:46 am the World Trade Towers were hit and he never came home again.

Her father lived by a motto that his mother taught him – and he taught her: "If you have it, you give it." Though he worked in the financial services industry, his own upbringing had been meager and he valued education, which he struggled to get and made sure his own children had the opportunity to get more of. His biggest lessons to his daughter were “to be kind to everyone, love one another and believe in yourself.” And she took them to heart.
 
From the ashes of the tragedy that was 9/11, Lombardo and her family decided to start a charitable foundation in Scoop's honor. True heartfelt underlying values and people's personal experiences and passions always form the basis for such activities. In this case, they culminated in the formation of the only bereavement center for kids in Manhattan called "A Caring Hand."  Its mission is "to meet bereaved children and families wherever they are in their grief and fulfill their needs in a caring and knowledgeable environment through services to help them with their emotional journey and financial assistance to aid their future education."
 
Lombardo explains the legacy she is building, and the involvement of others who have been attracted to support it, this way: "Contributions from all of you will help my father's legacy live on and help touch so many other children that have experienced the tragedy of losing a parent as my brother and I have experienced." Indeed, "Scoop" should be proud of her efforts to help his memory live on, via the creation of a tangible on-going operation – a living, breathing, caring effort – that can likewise live on for generations.
 
This project so well embodies my definition of legacy beyond the typical estate planning view of who-gets-what-property-when-I-die; rather, it's "the conscious contributi­on of your authentic gifts, talents and resources that adds value in a lasting way." And that conscious contribution is very much about living fully – true success and full self-actualization by active involvement in building something that makes a positive difference and leaves the world just a little bit better than the way you found it. Or in some cases, like Lombardo's, a LOT better.
 
I especially love legacy stories arising from the Millenial Generation. These 'echo-boom­ers' often embody the idealism of their boomer era parents. They are undaunted and unstopped by financial concerns – perhaps because they are coming of age in a time of financial crisis (what money? what social security?) and the daunting issues of terrorism, numerous long-standing wars, climate change and environmental degredation. These Millenial legacy leaders can't be bothered to let those things stop them. Instead, they look for what's truly wanted and needed, and find a way to do something about it. In so doing, they find their own heartfelt callings – and answer the call.
 
They are living from the heart – and that is a form of capital stronger than any other. They will lead us all on to measure the true values in life, the tangible and countable, as well as the intangible and truly precious.  And witnessing that does my heart a lot of good.
 
Blessings to all on the 10th anniversary of 09/11/01.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Legacy of Words

Today, June 14, is Flag Day – and ironically it also is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

I love the story of her life and the legacy of words she wrote in a small novel that became a worldwide phenomenon. Not something a woman living in the early 1800′s might ever expect.  But then it’s not something many people living in this day and age expect they’re capable of either.  (And yes, you are!)

That book was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  It was not the first or the only book she wrote. But writing, and getting clear on the message that was important to her to impart, was the means to creating her legacy. She may be remembered as the woman President Abraham Lincoln called “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war” which of course could never be true, and it might have been some notoriety at the time.  It was the work itself, however, that became her lasting legacy.  For a fascinating conversation about the book, her life and all that history, catch the podcast of Diane Rehm’s inteview with David Reynolds who has now written a book all about it called “Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011). At that link, you can also read an except from his book.

What I love about Harriet’s legacy though, is how it provides an example of what can happen when someone decides to take a small action on something they are passionate about.  Harriet was one of 10 children raised by her father and step-mother, since her own mother died when she was five.  The family held social reform as a high concern and after her move from Connecticut to Cincinnati, Ohio, Harriet became passionate about the plight of the African-American slaves in the south.  She knew of them from their family members who worked for the family.  The split in views about the treatment of these people – who were still being treated like property – between northerners and southerners, became a story line that told of truths not many people wanted to speak about.

Harriet is described as a small and dreamy woman – nothing like a media powerhouse or celebrity of today. From her deepest convictions, however, she told a story that captured hearts and minds, and now people are even writing about her history.

Do you have a story filled with powerful observations or simply a good idea to share with the world? Do you need support to make it happen? 

Like Harriet’s story, yours may just well make history – or at least a positive difference in the lives of other people – which is history enough.  There are many ways to bring that story to the world – books, workshops, tangible goods, programs or services, and many other forms. It would be great to see your legacy come to life in a similar way. 

If you’re ready to start, it’s something we can help you develop.  It would be a joy to help nuture your project into fruition!

Cheers, Dolly

Giving Back Is Better With Company

Women know inherently that collaboration and community make it easier to do just about anything.  It appears this is true when it comes determining the best ways to give back.  Even billionaires feel that way. Dozens of them got together this past week in Tucson, Arizona as part of the Giving Pledge Gathering.  

According to some of those present, they discussed the biggest mistakes they’d made in pursuing philanthropy, calling it a sometimes lonely job. They want to use care and not just throw money at causes, instead exploring how best to invest funds to tackle the world’s big problems.  And they noted it is useful to share with other people who are pursuing the same efforts and sometimes struggling with decisions. 

Think about how much more profound these issues are for people without billions behind them to afford numerous advisors.  It was with that thought in mind that Creating Legacy was created as a network for just those people.  Our clients are successful, but not billionaires.  They’re more the Millionaire Next Door type, or, our particular focus Millionaire Women Next Door - folks who’ve worked and saved, invested and managed their money well, and now have significant funds, assets and other resources as well as time, energy and deep interests to bring to bear. They also want to give back and help improve the situations of people, places and things they care about. 

According to DailyFinance.com the number of new millionaires in the U.S. is projected to double by 2020.  They’ll be entering the discussion of how to properly manage their wealth, and how best to smartly give back in ways that are important and significant to them.

Not being billionaires, they share the concerns of managing their decisions well.  They’re more alone than others, possibly being the first in their families to ever amass significant assets, and need a network and community as well – one that can also help them navigate what may be a new world of giving. It’s just about understanding the types of contributions they can make – there are so many ways in addition to just contributing funds, available to so many people if they choose to consider it. It’s also about who the advisors are that they need, how to find good ones and when and how to properly engage them.  There is also the component of getting very clear on their authentic interests, and the best way to get engaged in these pursuits in a way that is joyful, rather than stressful.  How to have the important conversations, knowing the language and the territory; how to involve family, or not; and setting out to build something great are all topics that need to be navigated and mastered for giving success. 

It’s such a wonderful pursuit, when you are clear about what you’re doing and not floundering around trying to find the right people to help (and determine whether what they’re telling you is not only correct, but right for you.)  Our 7 Steps To Creating Your Legacy program was built with all that in mind.  To check out the steps click here and see what resonates with you. We’d love to share the program with you.

Please contact us for a no obligation consultation to find out more.

All the best to you,
Cheers, Dolly

Power to the People! Power to Mamisma, Right On!

Mamisma. What a great word. 

It was coined by publisher Harriet Rubin, author of The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women and Soloing: Realizing Your Life’s Ambition, and can best be described as the energy a mother bear has when she senses her cubs are in danger – and action taken not out of vengeance but out of the urge to provide for and protect future generations.  According to Rubin, it is “femininity defined by mature and maternal qualities.”

Those maternal qualities need not mean bearing and raising children, or even being a woman for that matter.  They are generative and creative.  Women, and anyone else possessing this feminine strength, can continue to exercise this sort of power long after child-bearing years are over.  Those qualities can be utilized and developed throughout the lifespan.

Mamisma is not about ‘machisma,’ the feminine version of machismo.  It is not about having dominion over others – but using one’s heart and smarts to make things better in a sustainable, healthy, happy way.  Power is, after all, the “ability to do” and the more one can get done, now and for future generations, the more power-full.

To me, mamisma is about the strength to protect and restore, to make beautiful, and to be strong and confident in bringing more good to the world. It is about taking care of oneself as well as others. Beyond putting on your own oxygen mask first, it is about getting what you want and need so as not to feel one iota deprived or resentful in then assisting, promoting or supporting others. It is about being willing to win and let others win, too – and finding resolutions that allow for both, rather than compromising.

It is a word to describe feminine power wielded by either gender, but it is especially important to women.  Our ‘power-struggle’ – at least in the U.S.A. – has been going on since the 1960′s; though truly it has been going on seemingly for centuries.

Gloria Feldt argues that it is time that women embrace their power - so we move beyond “justify[ing] our lack of progress by pointing outward,” rather than taking responsibility to move things courageously forward; and so we can really get to a point where women lead both themselves and others with intention toward fulfilment of human potential for now and future generations.

When we as women can fully embrace the type of power with which we are naturally endowed, and its importance, the sooner we can shift the world in more nurturing, growing, developing, just and innovative ways. 

The world needs more of that.  How can we support you in your exercise of that power?

Cheers, Dolly

Where Will You Make Your Impact?

There is much to do and many ways to set a course for good in this world! And Make A Difference Day on the fourth Saturday in October, is a great way to begin exploring your passion and potential legacy project. Here are a few extraordinary legacy project stories to give you ideas from the example of some remarkable people who have visions, hearts and hands, found the personal fortitude and external resources they needed, and set out to generate more good in the world.

Maybe some of these will trigger a quiet longing or have you look around your community in a different way. Follow your heart, your values, what calls you to action. Be inspired by an area of impact you’d like to enhance and extend.  And remember, your legacy project can be as large or as small as you wish! Look around your community and see what you choose to do!

Projects that Impact the Earth

Earth Day
This holiday is now celebrated in the U.S. and now around the world. It was first conceived in 1962 by Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin’s 35th Governor and that state’s U.S. Senator from 1963-1981, and it evolved over a period of years. Nelson was concerned that the state of the environment was a non-issue in U.S. politics and needed more visibility. He worked with then  Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President John Kennedy to schedule a five-day, eleven-state ‘national conservation tour’ in September 1963. Earth Day really took hold after Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River, all but dead from industrial sludge discharge, caught fire in 1969.  This Earth Day environmental legacy spawned a chain of events, and people who individually, in different ways, took on the underlying concerns as their own individual projects … which became their personal legacies. The resulting momentum and synergy literally created the environmental movement as we know it today.

A Legacy Explodes Internationally
Last year, journalists called it “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history”! Citizens in over 180 nations staged actions on International Day of Climate Action to demand a quicker response to climate change. The New York Times covered it on the front page. In Times Square people watched images of this movement flood in from every corner of the world on jumbo-tron screens. More than 5200 separate events were held around the globe. “These are the kinds of crowds that turn out for rock stars or charismatic politicians, but instead they are rallying around a scientific data point, they’re asking our leaders to lead — to pay attention to scientific reality, not political convenience” said founder, Bill McKibben. He has grown his legacy through a book, and website devoted to teaching people the relevance of the number 350 (parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere). This year, the second Climate Action Day was celebrated on 10-10-10 (October 10th, 2010) with work parties in 7000-plus separate events in about 188 countries. One man, concerned about one issue, now with a small and very committed team, has built a global effort involving millions of people on all continents. In 2010 even U.S. President Obama committed to returning solar panels to the White House (first installed by President Carter, and taken down by President Reagan).

Projects that Impact Education

A Living Legacy Carries Forward
Candace “Dacie” Moses demonstrated that everyone can contribute something — and with the right planning, what lives on beyond our lifetimes can simply be an extension of what was joyfully given during them. She was a librarian at the Carleton College in Northfield, MN, in the U.S. and the legacy she defined and lived, then left for future generations is the Dacie Moses House, where students gathered for freshly baked cookies, Sunday brunches (for up to 50 people), to hold conversations, watch TV or play the piano, snack from her refrigerator or call home from her phone. Dacie wanted that to endure, so before she died in 1983 at the age of 97, she donated her house to the Carleton Alumni Association. Her will instructed that it be used as it was during her lifetime — a hostel for students and alumni, an upstairs rented apartment that generated funds to maintain and improve the property. In a separate trust, she provided funds to pay for cookie making supplies and the cost of the Sunday brunches.  From the conviction of her values, her joy in life and a little bit of property, Dacie Moses both lived and consciously created an enduring legacy.

Building On A Great Idea

One of the ways to begin acting on a legacy idea is to examine what others are doing, and possibly fit the project you design in with an existing organization.  Legacy builders and veterinary students, Alison Barnstable and Laurel Redding, attached their project to both the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (where they were students) and later Heifer International by initially creating their legacy in the form of a research grant application called “Increasing Agriculture Productivity in Developing Countries.” They sought to have the Veterinary profession become more involved with addressing world hunger through a contribution to public health, knowing the importance of safeguarding animal health for human health. Including a plan to work with Heifer International — the organization started by farmer Dan West, devoted to distributing livestock and providing training for people around the world in environmentally sound agricultural practices integrating both farming and ranching — they received the grant. Their plan exposes other Vet students to public health and world hunger issues, gets them involved in helping to train community animal health workers and establishes information networks that allow Veterinarians to use their skills to have a greater impact in the lives of people worldwide.

Projects that Impact Girls and Women

Girl Power
There are 600 million adolescent girls living in poverty in the developing world. The Girl Effect is an incredible legacy project addressing this problem by focusing on solutions to major global issues like overpopulation, infant mortality, child health and community development, by focusing on these girls. A corporate responsibility project, it was begun in 2004 as the work of the Nike Foundation, the non-profit organization founded by NIKE, Inc. They’ve discovered that when girls have safe places to meet, education, legal protection, health care, and access to training and job skills, they can thrive — and they influence others to thrive, too.

Hope for Women Worldwide
Husband and wife team, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn created a legacy in the form of a book called Half the Sky that has grown into a movement, because they felt strongly that women need protective laws, including the right to hold property and bank accounts … but as they write, “Westerners invest too much effort in changing unjust laws and not enough in changing culture, by building schools or assisting grassroots movements.” They know cultural changes are needed everywhere, maybe even in your local community.  Could you support a woman or girl to stay in school or further their education, or participate with a group that benefits women? It would be a great way to get started.

Giving Women a Home
For Constance Collins-Margulies, seeing a homeless person for the first time at age 13, left an indelible mark in her heart and soul. It imprinted a question: “How can any of us be happy as long as one of us lives like this?” 40 years later, she set up the Sundari Foundation to promote the education, advancement and social inclusion of poor, disadvantaged and homeless women and children. The nonprofit’s first project was the Lotus House Women’s Shelter in Miami, a shelter that takes a holistic approach to care for its residents on every level:  body (through medical, dental, eye care and even safety training), mind (through counseling, mental health treatments and support groups and running a Thrift Shop to learn skills and raise funds for the project) and spirit (through things like art, music, crafts, book clubs, gardening, and field trips).

Projects that Impact Health

Pivotal First Step Creates Free Clinic
Faith Coleman was a nurse practitioner without health insurance when learned she had a malignant tumor growing on her right kidney. Her treatment cost about $35,000 and she mortgaged her home to pay for it, gaining with that experience the insight and determination to make a difference for others who likewise needed access to appropriate medical treatment.  After her recovery, she mustered up her courage and took one pivotal step, approaching a local physician with 60 years experience treating the indigent population, Dr. John Canakaris, with her idea for a free clinic — and to her surprise he agreed. Their efforts created the Flagler County Free Clinic in Florida, which started with eight volunteers treating eight patients and where now about 120 volunteers see about 80 patients every other weekend.

Projects By and For Youth

From The Hands Of Babes
Austin Gutwein wouldn’t have called it a legacy when he started at age 10. He just knew he wanted to make a difference when he learned about children his age in Africa orphaned because their parents contracted a disease called HIV/AIDS. So he decided to use something he knew and loved, basketball, as a way to help. On World AIDS Day 2004, Austin pledged to shoot 2,057 free throws, representing the number of children orphaned in a single school day because of AIDS. He got sponsors for his effort, and raised almost $3,000 USD that day — and then duplicated the effort with other kids around the country to create Hoops of Hope. His project is now connected to a humanitarian organization called World Vision, and the project he started has now raised over $1,000,000 for building a school and two medical testing labs in Zambia, providing caregiver kits and furnishings, building a water system in Kenya, and providing bicycles for caregivers … and enduring help and hope for many to come.

If You Think You’re Too Small
They say good things come in small packages. Great legacies often start small … and young. Emily Goldstein was a senior at Atherton High School in Louisville, Kentucky, when she and her partner Brandie Farkas were chosen among 16 teens from around the world to study polar bears in the Arctic. She and her partner, Brandie Farkas, both volunteers at the Louisville Zoo, entered the “Project Polar Bear” contest. For their entry they created a website at the Louisville Zoo to educate about the effects of climate change, and encourage individuals to help address it. Feeling each person can make a significant difference, they wanted to encourage each individual to take steps to address global climate change — which they can do through pledges on the website. And so far, people have made pledges that add up to a reduction of over 15 million pounds of carbon emissions of energy use. Emily has gone on from there to other projects which will create even more great legacies for her to live, and leave for the benefit of others when she steps away.

Corporate Social Responsibility Starts Young
Emily Matson and Julianne Goldmark started their Emi-Jay business as teenagers looking for the best hair ties. At the same time, they made a commitment to donate a portion of all proceeds to Locks of Love, an organization that helps disadvantaged children suffering from medical hair loss. Their organization of choice to support is a perfect match for their own business mission. This approach, part of a concept known as corporate social responsibility, is not lost on young people and neither is entrepreneurism. It seems that loss of this youthful outlook often comes with fear and ideas of scarcity. How can you regain your own youthful enthusiasm to do something that makes a difference?

Where Do You Want To Go From Here?

No effort is too small, no one is too young or too old to start their Legacy Project! From a local community project to a global enterprise, the difference is only a matter of scale built on your unique desires and circumstances. It all starts small, an empassioned idea coupled with action— and even tiny first steps can grow to planetary dimensions.

Who would you like to impact, and how? Let us know how we can help you express your passion and joy to make that happen. (EBC)

Just How Stupid Are We?

New Zealand’s Lizzie Gillett had a dream to make a difference. Her efforts may just help save the planet, too. She had an idea to tell an important story – before it is too late .  As she tells it, she “stalked” the accomplished UK film maker/director Franny Armstrong in an effort to make it happen.  And became a film producer herself in the process.

Armstong was impressed and together the two have taken the world by storm producing an incredible film called The Age of Stupid – a visual journey into global climate change and a world humans have a hard time imagining if it’s not addressed. So the film show them what they have difficulty anticipating for their children and grandchildren.  It’s unnerving, troubling, significant … and important to see – in order to really “get” it. 

In the process, they’ve created an amazing legacy. Can’t wait to see what they each do next.  Wonderful women, wonderful work. Check out their story here:

New Zealand’s Close Up features The Age of Stupid from Age of Stupid on Vimeo.