I am surprised we get asked so often "why do you give a percentage of your profits to charity? Is it for the tax deduction? " My answer is "Absolutely not!"
Sometimes it goes to registered charities. Other times we go to the streets of Canberra or Melbourne, as our personal project. We stop and talk to the homeless living on the streets, learn their name and their story, and get them something they need ... coffee, warm gloves, shoes, a room for the night - paid for by the profits from Bragging Rights Events and our sister company, Mongarlowe Gourmet. We are never there to judge, just help; and we would love other businesses to follow this example.
Everyone deserves a chance. Many don't get it. So as inspiration, this is an extract from latest email I received from a man I hold in the very highest of esteem, Jon Owen;
Dear Inner Circle,
Last week we buried a young man, murdered in his mid-20s. It is one of the greatest dignities I can afford someone who exists close to the street but is also something that brings me great pain. Could there be any greater honour than to be trusted by a family to sit with them in their grief, and could there be any greater agony than sitting amid such pain and loss? In such a state, people aren’t asking philosophical nor theological questions; often, they’re doubting existence itself. There are no words to answer such doubts. All there is, is presence. The foster mother had first taken this boy in at the age of three when he was removed from his family for severe neglect. She will never forget the first night he sat down to dinner. He ignored his cutlery and dove into his dinner hands-first. The whole family thought he was about to start shovelling it into his mouth Indian style (I really am in a rare position to be able to write that). Instead he was moving his food around on the plate and staring at it as it passed through his fingers. It looked like he was playing with it rather than about to eat it. When asked what he was doing, he responded, “I’m checking for ants.” Only three years old.
During his memorial stories, we were told of a life that blew away the idea of a level playing field. I don’t think it would be fair to call the time he was in utero, “gestation”, it would be more accurate to call “a pickling process”. Stories were traded, as they are in Wayside style, about a young man who everyone loved, but who also drove everyone mad. Even the police and prison guards were in attendance at the funeral, such was the impact his life had upon them. We heard about how he used to take an extra lunch in primary school for the man who was sleeping under the bridge, and how he was first suspended for punching a kid, who was bullying some other kid who had Cerebral Palsy. We also heard how he was so driven by self-hatred that he would punish himself constantly, even from a young age.
A room full of people wept as they farewelled the beautiful young man who rarely had a chance, but it was a room full of people who loved him for who he was and not for any standard he was hopelessly unable to attain...
Pastor & CEO