Won't You Be Ours?

So much for playing hard-to-get

February 14, 2011

We’ve exchanged vows, celebrated an anniversary, even sent some of you chocolate. So much for playing hard-to-get: you’ve probably figured out by now that Quixote Foundation is wildly, deliriously in love with you and the spectacular progressive world we share.

How will we stay true through years of hard work and kitchen-table conversations about merged finances? As Ben Franklin said, “If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” (Of course, he also flew a kite in a lightning storm.) The QF team often talks about what we can do to keep this relationship healthy. Up until now we’ve kept those musings private, but Valentine’s Day seems a good time to disclose intimate thoughts. Here are five characteristics we’ve adopted as ambitious internal guides—the heart of who and how we are striving to be.

Shoulder-to-shoulder: We invest Quixote Foundation resources only where we are true believers. Those resources don’t put us at the head of the table—we share responsibility for setting and filling it, sitting beside the organizations we fund. We find leaders we believe in and then support and defend them like we would a friend, asking for a friend’s trust and open communication in return.

Bring truth to power: We amplify our small foundation’s voice in order to take true and urgent messages to decision-makers who have power. We multiply the value of our own access to that power by bridging in others who tell the truth. Our commitment to truth provides an internal framework of strength and balance. It prompts us to engage with people who transcend politics and clearly, kindly, directly, say what needs to be said.

Merry errant activism: We love life—nature, people, emotions, ideas. We love to explore and we’re passionate about what we discover. We became funders because we’re activists, and guiding this resource doesn’t let us off the hook for pushing ourselves into the fray. Being in the fray doesn’t let us off the hook for bringing big laughs and caring touches to our work.

Food for the soul: We approach our world with an assumption of abundance and a spirit of sharing. We invest in good fresh nourishment for the body, soul and mind, and extend that hospitality to others. We look for ways to design our work so that everyone involved is not wearied or diminished by the effort, but energized and fulfilled.

Practice idealism: We are undaunted. Our ideals are lofty and romantic, and they’re also tangible and practical. They evolve with us, and yet they’re non-negotiable. We believe our determination will create change not only by what we do and say, but by who we inspire to act out their own ideals. We spend our all in pursuit of free people in fair societies on a healthy planet.

We have a long way to go to live up to these values. To get better, we need the perspective of people we love. Send us a Valentine any time, to let us know how we’re doing, what we’ve missed and what we can do to improve.

—written by Keneta Anderson for Quixote Foundation