In the US, autumn seems to be a reflective time of year. This is partly due to our November Thanksgiving holiday, but it is also undoubtedly related to the changes in the environment as it begins its retreat into winter. The days get darker, the trees shed their leaves, the cold sets in, and everyone seems to turn inward. Extending gratitude is one natural component of this inward-looking, reflective period.
Practicing gratitude benefits both the individual and the community. Taking time to extend gratitude has a remarkable impact on our emotional well being – it is a recommended practice to overcome depression, and a concrete way to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones. It also builds character and defines values. Thus, per the season, personal enrichment, and community building benefits, each 3CF Board Member decided to share one thing for which we’re thankful.
"I am thankful for....
My family's support and belief in the power of education enabled me to succeed in high school, get accepted into university, and go on to pursue a master's degree. I am grateful that I have had the resources to invest the effort and money required so I could realize the long term benefits - my current career and my position on the board of 3CF.
As a resident of California, this fall I am particularly thankful for rain. The more rain we get, the better - for our state's agricultural productivity, related jobs, and economic wellbeing. Zooming out to a global perspective, I see the importance of rainfall for 3rd Creek Foundation's beneficiaries, many of whom are operating agricultural businesses or working as agricultural laborers to graduate out of poverty. Enough (but not too much) rain is absolutely critical for their success and the majority of those living in extreme poverty. Rain can be critical for our survival.
I am thankful for my freedom. As I look back even just 7 decades ago, my family members living in Europe were not permitted basic rights and were prevented from reaching their full potential as true members of society due to widespread discrimination. During the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, I think we should all be thankful for the opportunities we have to pursue our potential, and that we should always strive to help those who are less fortunate.
New Business Venture
I recently launched a new business called Heart of Greens. We serve up fresh salads in Marin County from a pretty hip retro-fitted bus. I have always wanted to run my own business, from ideation to ongoing operations. I value the autonomy, responsibility, and flexibility that comes with being my own boss. This year I am thankful that my business partner and I got this idea off the ground.
I am thankful for my job with 3rd Creek Investments, Inc. Through my job, I earn an income and thereby gain the ability to plan for the future. This, of course, is the underlying theme of 3rd Creek Foundation: we help individuals achieve economic independence. As such, many of our funds focus on job creation to provide opportunities for those in need. Personally, I find it important to give thanks for my own job and my own economic independence every day; it is something we should never take for granted.
I am most thankful for my family’s good health. Over the past few years, our family has experienced serious illness and potentially serious injury, but thankfully, with support from family and friends, and a medical system we can afford, we survived. My concern, however, is for those who are subjected to systems of inequality in healthcare and who lack access to the care they need.
Early Detection of Cancer
In late 2007, I was diagnosed with ampullary carcinoma, a rare type of cancer. It was completely by chance that the tumor was detected as early as it was, as I never experienced any symptoms. I am very thankful for that discovery, as it ultimately gave me the last 9 years of life that I otherwise would not have had. It also motivated me to expedite the founding of 3rd Creek Foundation and get more focused on a portfolio of angel, start-up investments. Your legacy is what you leave behind, for-profit and non-profit, that is sustainable and that benefits the community. Nine years after diagnosis, I can point to personal involvement in sustainable start-up entities and philanthropic projects that are promoting economic independence and opportunities at home and abroad.