January 31; Leave It All on the Field
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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31 January

I have fought the good fight,

I have finished the race,

I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

Leave It All on the Field

Effective Charity

The charity had given away its last dollar, shut down its website, released employees and turned off the phones.

Yoest Family  Charmaine gets "Hooded" 2004

Yoest Family
Charmaine gets “Hooded”
2004

The John M. Olin Foundation had been very good to my kith and kin. The charity had awarded generous grants to my wife, Charmaine, as she completed her doctorate in political science at the University of Virginia.

So we were surprised when this conservative charity emptied its endowment and closed up shop. But this was the plan all along. The benefactor, John Olin, directed that the work of his foundation would continue indefinitely only through the legacy of the recipients.

Olin did not want his foundation to exist into perpetuity — forever dispensing grants. He feared that future generations might not honor his wish of supporting free market thinkers.

Grant making-foundations over the decades will sometimes appoint trustees who lean away from the original mission of the organization, violating donor intent. Olin wanted to avoid this challenge. He directed that the foundation assets be dispersed within a single generation of his death in 1982. The last grant was made in 2005.

This is the lesson for leaders. Even the largest of projects must have an end point, a completion date. Races of any sort have a finish line with a checkered flag waved with a flourish. The major milestones of achieving a goal and completing a vision must be celebrated and followed by focusing on new horizons.

John Olin’s vision lives on in the work of the universities, think tanks and scholars he supported. My family is forever grateful.

From the other side of eternity Olin can quote 2 Timothy 4:7, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

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