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Freedom to Give

“How do you really know that you have enough?” That was the pastor’s soul provoking question about the topic of money. “Because it’s what you already have.” And, that was his version of financial planning, explained powerfully. His simple message can be tremendous advice for any of us, with profound impact for loved ones around us. After talking about finances, he went on to suggest taking deeper breaths, and being more present where we are. More of those are a good thing. Sitting in the congregation next to me that day was a guy who looks big and tough. Turns out, he is so soft and sweet our nickname for him is Cupcake. We like to talk about another truth. That working harder to make a lot more money for a bigger purpose, to do more good, for many more people, can be a GREAT thing. His version of GRINdexing offers a much-needed break from the growing arguments over the evils of big profits and greedy capitalists. We are here to celebrate a better reason that many plans are adding to their accounts - so they can really start multiplying it, by giving more of it away. There were years of anxiety for him, before the most relentless grin you will ever find was finally unlocked. His son has special needs. That young man also has a special kindness, and an uncommon desire to work. But, after years of searching and disappointment, they could never find a job where he could meaningfully contribute.

Cupcake is one of the most successful technology executives we have served. Silicon Valley hard-wires its best people with the desire to keep accumulating more assets on paper, with hopes they appreciate wildly in price. The pace at work was exhausting him and no amount of increased wealth solved his biggest problem, anyhow. We had long talks about a career path change to a company that treated its stakeholders very differently. Rather than chasing more aggressive growth, they are paid dividends while they sleep. All he wanted to talk about for his investments was how to plan for the freedom to GIVE more aggressively. No amount of appreciated assets down the road, or setting up charitable trusts and estate planning for the future, could answer his prayers to help special people like his son now. Along came a force of nature named Kim, who had a daughter with similar challenges. She had an idea - let’s build something where they can really belong.

The dream was a place where kids can go to after school for a snack, or a busy mom can stop by and pick up a full dinner to enjoy with their family that night. Most importantly, it would be a place where an entire community could see that these special people have tremendous value and are capable of doing great work every day!

Belong Kitchen was born. Every employee is a young adult with intellectual and developmental special needs

But they are not just grinning at Belong Kitchen. They are making world-class dishes. A 30-year culinary arts teacher is giving her time and purpose. She lovingly provides hands-on teaching, the best sourcing, authentic scratch cooking, and professional presentation.

Their take-out menu consistently sold out every week, since they started. They did so much good, they also opened a dine-in location.

Full of goosebumps splashed with a few tears, he explained blessing the walls with dedications during the build-out.

With his biggest grin yet, he says “Let me show you mine, and why I want to do more.”

When working and investing have a bigger purpose, and you get paid while you sleep for a little more peace of mind, retirement is no longer the goal. Working on solving a problem was far more rewarding, than any day off could ever be. Cupcake no longer wants to slow down; he wants to keep working to earn more dividends to multiply into the most special grins we have ever witnessed.


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