We couldn’t get the news fast enough as Saturday’s tornadoes wreaked havoc in cities and towns across the state. It wasn’t long before the news articles and pictures detailed the devastating impact. It was hard for me to take in that I was looking at real destruction – real homes and neighborhoods destroyed, real people whose lives have been turned upside down. No, this was not a bad dream. It was all too real.
During crises like these, our first inclination is to ask what we can do? The answer for me came on Monday morning when I came to work. Before I knew it, our board and staff were in high gear, leveraging our statewide network of affiliate community foundations. I saw firsthand the power of this network to marshal resources as we activated our Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund enables local leaders – the people who know these communities because it’s where they live and work -- to make grants to local organizations providing crisis assistance.
What I want these leaders to also know is that there are people all over the state who want to help the victims of these horrific tornadoes. I hope you’ll join me and many others in making a donation to the Disaster Relief Fund.
Here’s all you need to know to make a gift:
Credit card donations can be made online or by downloading a contribution form and mailing or faxing it to NCCF offices. (The fax number is 919-828-5495. The form or checks can be mailed to NCCF at 4601 Six Forks Road, Suite 524, Raleigh, NC 27609). Please designate your gift for “Disaster Relief.” All gifts are tax-deductible.
All funds will go directly to nonprofit organizations serving the needs of local victims in counties served by the NCCF. No portion of the NCCF’s Disaster Relief Fund will be used for the Foundation’s administrative or operational expenses, which the Foundation is also encouraging among local recipient agencies.
We've already received generous gifts from all over the state. We'll keep you posted on how these contributions are being used in local communities.
Time management has been on my mind lately after I got my monthly leave report and discovered that I had not taken a vacation in almost two years. Sure, I’ll take a day off here and there, but there is always another report to write, another meeting to plan or another set of grant applications to review.
I’ve tried all sorts of different systems to structure my days and weeks to be the most efficient and effective, but all it takes is an urgent request from a fundholder or the opportunity to connect with a local nonprofit to turn my schedule inside out. Despite the disruption of my carefully considered timetable, I thrive on these unexpected requests and encounters because I always learn something new, but I admit to flashes of regret when I return to the piles of files.
The solution to my time management challenges seemed elusive until I came across a simple, yet elegant approach more than 200 years old. During an electronic expedition in pursuit of more information about statistical visualization (displaying statistics graphically so they make sense to more people), I came across a striking image.
Nick Bilton had posted a page from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography (now in the public domain) on Flickr. The page showed Franklin’s daily schedule broken down by hour.
Benjamin Franklin started each day by considering “The morning question: what good shall I do this day?” He would then “rise, wash . . . contrive the day’s business and present study. . . and breakfast.” Instead of listing every task he intended to accomplish, the rest of his day was divided between work, dining, more work, and then “put[ting] things in their places, . . . examination of the day.”
Before sleeping, Franklin would then consider the “Evening question: what good have I done today?”
That’s it. No time matrix, no task allocation grid, no discussion of coping skills.
“What good have I done today?” Now I understand that if I begin each day with the intention of doing good, and end it by accomplishing this one task, regardless of form, then I have managed my time very, very well.
(Here’s the complete text of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.)