Goal by lonyoo

VIEWS: 57 PAGES: 14

									                                                                                              1


Prepared by Jeff Garson
March 2005

                              The Eccoes Group
                          A Proposed Business Model
1. The Eccoes Group Defined

        The Eccoes Group, as we envision it, will be a network of cooperating businesses
organized and operating in accordance with the principles of Radical Decency, a
philosophy developed by the Eccoes Foundation. The goal of the Eccoes Group will be
to create an empowered economic model that: (1) supports its participants in living
Radically Decent lives; (2) does so in ways that are economically viable and personally
rewarding; and (3) in this way, provides an important new model that can be used by
others to achieve these goals.

2. The Eccoes Foundation and its philosophy, Radical Decency

       The Eccoes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity, organized as a Pennsylvania
nonprofit corporation. It was created in June, 2000.

        The Foundation’s goal is to nurture ways of being and acting that contribute, in a
meaningful way, to the creation of a world that is more decent and respectful, fair and
just, authentic, nurturing, and loving. It refers to these values, collectively, as Radical
Decency and organizes itself around the following operating philosophy: We are
committed to practicing Radical Decency in all that we do . . . to ourselves, to others,
and to the world. For a fuller statement of the Foundation’s philosophy, see Garson,
Radical Decency, Third Draft, May 2005.

        A basic premise that informs the Foundation’s work is that, to be effectively
decent in any one area – to ourselves, to others, or to the world – we need to be fully
committed to decency in each of the other areas. In other words, if we seek to be fully
decent to be ourselves and to family and friends (personal growth) but compromise these
principles with people beyond our immediate circle – at our work place or, more
generally, in our dealings with the larger world – our personal growth efforts will be
limited and fundamentally compromised. Similarly, if we seek decency in the larger
world (social justice) but fall short in the ways in which we treat ourselves or in our
dealings with family and friends, these efforts will be similarly compromised. For a
fuller discussion of these ideas, see Garson, Social Justice and Personal Growth: A Case
for Convergence, January 2002.

       The Foundation believes that living a Radically Decent life is the right thing to
do. However, it also believes, deeply and fundamentally, that fully living these values is
its own reward:
                                                                                            2


       a. They infuse our lives with a deeper meaning and purpose and, in so doing,
          support us in feeling better about what we are doing with our existence.

       b. Since Radical Decency demands decency to ourselves – as well as to others
          and the world – the philosophy refuses to accommodate abusive bosses,
          grueling hours, and the routine incivilities that we are pushed to accept (and to
          inflict on others) when we conduct business in our usual ways. Fully lived,
          Radical Decency powerfully challenges us to be kinder and more respectful to
          ourselves as well.

       c. When Radical Decency becomes our habitual way of being, it changes the
          texture of our lives. The sense of constantly juggling disparate, inconsistent,
          and unreasonable demands is increasingly replaced with a sense of
          integration, coherence, and ease.

3. The Foundation’s Current Activities

        The Foundation has offered a variety of programs in its four plus years, all in the
service of two primary goals: (1) To more fully understand how to combine and integrate
our efforts to improve our lives (personal growth) with efforts to create a better world
(social justice); and (2) to create a widening circle of individuals who are interested in
more fully exploring this integrated approach to changing in the ways in which we live.
Its programming has included grantmaking, overseas and domestic service projects,
scholarship, education, support groups, and a variety of community building events. For
a more detailed description of its work, see Attachment A to this document.

4. Rationale for Creating the Eccoes Group

        The Eccoes Group marks a significant change in direction for the Foundation. It
is an initiative that has very much emerged from our experiences over the last 5 years.

        What we have come to understand is that the cultural forces that discourage,
marginalize, and defeat efforts to move toward a more radically decent life are
remarkably powerful and pervasive. Our hope is that, with the Eccoes Group, we have
created the kind of powerful countervailing model that is needed to effectively neutralize
the “disease” of indecency; a disease that is pervasive in our culture and, because it is the
very water we swim in, in our lives as well.

        One of the virtues of the Foundation’s basic formulation, “Radical Decency in all
that we do,” is that it castes a light on the areas in which these values receive attention
and, conversely, the areas in which they are largely ignored. One striking reality is that,
while many of us concern ourselves with these values in our private lives and at least
acknowledge their relevance in our political affairs, they are effectively ignored at our
places of business.
                                                                                                               3


        The only realistic option at work (we tell ourselves) is to accept the values of the
marketplace; to place a priority competing, on making as much money as possible. The
operating rule at work seems to be as follows: Be nice and congenial when you can but if
decency conflicts with the bottom line, then decency needs to take a back seat to the
financial needs of the enterprise.1

         This absence of any real commitment to decency in the workplace deeply affects
our lives. Work is, for the great majority of us, our single most consuming activity.
Quite literally, it eats up the most productive hours of the great majority of our days and
does so throughout the most vigorous years of our lives. The idea that we can craft
decent lives and contribute to a more decent world, but exempt our work lives from these
efforts, is deeply unrealistic. A fundamental shift toward decency, in our lives and in the
world, will never occur if we limit our efforts to nights and weekends.

         The Eccoes Group model seeks to exactly reverse this equation. It is an effort to
make the central, consuming activity in our lives – work – the very place where our
practice of decent values begins. The fundamental commitment of every person working
for an Eccoes Group entity will be to operate their professional lives in accordance with
the principles of Radical Decency and to work each day to understand how to more fully
implement this commitment.

        Note, importantly, that the model we propose does not ignore the financial needs
of its participants. To the contrary, the goal is to create a sustainable model for living a
radically decent life. The Eccoes Group is, we believe, a model that will allow each of us
to make an entirely comfortable living and, in distinct contrast to our existing ways of
operating, to do so in a way that magnifies our deepest values – instead of negating them.

5. What we are up against; how the current business/financial structures stymie us

        A key to understanding how our current system can so effectively resist efforts to
change it lies in the fact that it seldom suppresses these efforts in any overt way. Instead,
they are neutralized through a much less visible and, for this reason, far more effective
process of marginalization.

         In our current setup, a person who is motivated to make things better can, in fact,
create a career in a service-oriented job, with a social justice organization, or in a healing
profession. Indeed, we as a culture often pay lip service to the dedication that the people
who chose these professions exhibit. The dark underside of the current system, however,
is that it gives these people just enough to money to survive but not nearly enough to
make any kind of meaningful impact on the larger culture.

        Most of these people wind up working for service and change oriented nonprofits;
entities that, by their very design, are consigned to a financial ghetto. The three standard
methods for funding these nonprofits are grants from private foundations, individual

1
   This mode of operation is true with a vengeance in the for-profit world. In recent years, however, it has
increasingly infiltrated into the ways in which mainstream nonprofits think and act as well.
                                                                                                          4


gifts, and fee-for-service reimbursements. In each case, the dollars they receive represent
the last, lowest priority expenditures for the funding source.

        Most private foundations are created through the gift of a wealthy individual from
his or her excess funds.2 Then, in a process that shrinks the impact of this low priority
allocation of resources even further, virtually every private foundation limits its annual
grants to 5% of the funds in its possession (5% being the lowest possible amount it can
legally distribute). Similarly, individual gifts to nonprofits are, in the vast majority of
cases, made from the last dollars allocated by the donor after every other expense has
been taken care of.

        In the case of fee for service income, the primary sources for these nonprofits are
government grants and reimbursements from private insurance carriers. However,
government grants for these purposes come from the very part of the government that
has, for decades, been chronically (and increasingly) under funded; the social services.
And equally, the trend in private insurance is to restrict coverage and to reduce
reimbursements.

        Thus, the very people who are most motivated to work toward a more decent
world are funneled into a nonprofit netherworld where they wind up turning themselves
inside to compete – with each other – for our financial system’s leftovers. In
Philadelphia, for example, the Maternity Care Coalition, an outstanding nonprofit
providing services to poor pregnant women and new mothers, works hard every year to
maintain an annual budget of about $3 million. By way of contrast, the City’s for-profit
community was able to pull together approximately $900 million, over the last few years,
to build two new sports stadiums.

       The difference in financial capability, illustrated by this example, is no anomaly.
When we do business in our usual ways, our most capable and motivated change agents,
consigned to the nonprofit sector, are systematically starved for capital and cash.

        At a macro level, the net result is as predictable as it is depressing. While many
useful projects are able to operate, their reduced financial capability means that their
overall effect on the ways in which the system operates are marginal and inconsequential.
Notwithstanding their efforts, business goes on as usual with barely a blip on the radar
screen.

        At a personal level, bad things happen as well. Far too often, the efforts of these
dedicated nonprofit professionals, to craft more decent lives, are overtaken by the
relentless demands of fundraising. They end up living with the long hours and
insecurities that are the staples of the for profit world – but without commensurate
financial rewards, either for their mission or for themselves.
                                  ______________________



2
    In contrast to a private foundation, public foundations like Eccoes raise the money they give away.
                                                                                                 5


        On the for-profit side, efforts to create a more decent world are similarly
hamstrung, although the process that leads to this result is different. In contrast to the
nonprofit sector, the for-profit side of the equation is not starved for money. What is
notably missing, however, is time. The sad reality is that many good people –who would
love to live more decent lives and contribute in a meaningful way to a more decent world
– wind up leading very different kinds of existences because, quite simply, they cannot
spare the time.

       The fundamental reason why this occurs is not, in the end, esoteric. The norms
and pressures of our competitive, win/lose culture are simply too great. In the great
majority of cases, people who work in the for-profit sector pour their best time and
energy into our status quo ways of doing business “because they have to, because there is
no other choice.”

         They fear and, at a gut level, deeply believe that if they get off the treadmill – or
even take a summer or a year off – they will be unable to survive competitively: Their
ability to make money will be irrevocably diminished; they will be labeled as “failures;”
their ability to provide for their children and old age will be severely compromised; and
so on. In the face of these pressures and fears, they abandon their instinct to live
differently or, at best, express it in limited and ultimately inconsequential ways – by
doing volunteer work in their spare time.
                                 ________________________

        Many of us would love to live more decently and, equally, contribute in a
meaningful way to the creation of a more decent world. But in the end, this very real
energy is starved – for a lack of money, lack of time, or both. In these ways, this
enormous potential force for change is thoroughly and effectively marginalized and
dissipated.

        The Eccoes Group is an attempt, by the Foundation, to respond to these realities
in a more comprehensive and systematic way. It is, we hope and believe, a practical and
sustainable strategy that will allow us create – in the lives of the people who participate –
an alternative, more decent reality in the crucially important area of work. It is a model
that can fundamentally change our lives and, importantly, provide others with a powerful
model for change.

6. How the Eccoes Group will work; the basic structure

         The Eccoes Group hopes to be a pioneering business model that successfully
supersedes our current for-profit/nonprofit dichotomy. Like the best of our nonprofits,
the Group’s activities and core mission will be values based; the fullest possible
elaboration of Radical Decency in the ways in which we run our businesses. At the same
time, it will empower itself economically by embracing income generating techniques
employed by for-profit entities.
                                                                                            6


         The structure we are proposing is relatively straightforward. The Foundation,
sitting at the center of the Group, will provide: (1) an evolving and increasingly robust
elaboration of its informing philosophy, Radical Decency; (2) programming that guides,
supports, and challenges Group members to put these values into practice in their
businesses; and (3) marketing and other collaborative opportunities that will allow Group
members to benefit, both substantively and financially, from Eccoes’ growing network of
like-minded individuals and entities.

        In return for these services, each member will pay an annual fee to the Foundation
based on its ability to pay. These fees will take the Foundation out of the nonprofit
financial ghetto and, in this way, greatly increase its ability to expand the network of
individuals and entities that identify with it and practice Radical Decency in their lives.

         This widening network will, in turn, provide members with a growing and highly
receptive “market” from which to attract customers and clients. Moreover, as the
network grows and becomes increasingly visible, it will provide Group members with an
increasingly valuable “brand name” since, if we are true to our mission, the Eccoes name
will be deeply associated with: (1) creative and exciting services and products; and
(2) fair, decent, and honest business practices. Fully realized, who wouldn’t be attracted
to the idea of hiring an “Eccoes” computer consultant, therapist, or auto repair shop? In
these ways, the structure we propose offers a viable, even exciting, model for financial
success – even as it supports its members’ efforts to run their businesses, and their lives,
in more radically decent ways.
                                   ________________________

        As we presently envision it, a business will be able to become a “member” of the
Eccoes Group in three different ways: As an Eccoes initiated business; as a joint venture
partner with the Foundation; or as an Eccoes approved enterprise. Note, also, that the
Group will be open to other types of affiliation so long as they are consistent its goals and
the Foundation’s mission.

        The rights and responsibilities, as between the Foundation and a Group member,
will be governed by a contract between the two entities. In general terms, the business
will agree: (1) to conduct its activities in accordance with the principles of Radical
Decency; (2) to participate in certain Foundation sponsored activities designed to deepen
our mutual understanding of what Radical Decency is and what it means to run our
businesses according to these principles; and (3) to pay the annual fee described above.

        The member might also be required to participate in other Foundation programs.
For example, Eccoes Associates, an entity that will provide psychotherapy and, possibly,
other professional services, is currently being organized as an Eccoes initiated business.
Because the services they offer are so complementary, that entity will be expected to
participate in the Support Connections (see Attachment A, paragraph 2).
                                                                                             7


        In return for these commitments, the member will be able to use the Eccoes name
and to participate in the Group’s educational, marketing, and other collaborative business
opportunities.

       Note, importantly, that subject to its contractual commitments, an Eccoes Group
member will retain the right to run its business as it sees fit, and to use and distribute its
income in its discretion. The Foundation’s only “enforcement” right will be to de-certify
the member, thus terminating the contract and ending its relationship with the Eccoes
Group.

        If de-certification occurs, the entity can continue in business but will no longer be
able to use the Eccoes name or participate in the Eccoes network. The de-certified entity
might also be required to pay a non-punitive withdrawal fee to reflect some portion of the
financial value it received through its affiliation with Eccoes. Any such withdrawal fee
would be known in advance since, like all other rights and obligations as between the
member and the Foundation, it would be spelled out in the contract.

       a. Eccoes initiated businesses

       We expect the Eccoes Group to attract people interested in starting radically
decent businesses. In these cases, the Foundation will provide legal and other technical
business expertise to get the business started and to facilitate its continued growth and
development. A key service, offered by the Foundation, will be access to debt and equity
financing.

        While an Eccoes initiated business would presumably be a for-profit entity, its
precise legal form (corporation, general partnership, LLP) and its relationship to the
Foundation (separate entity, shared ownership, wholly-owned subsidiary) might vary
from member to member. The key point here is that, since the rights of the Foundation
and the business will be spelled out in a contract, the member’s “real” rights and
responsibilities will not be materially affected by these structural choices. For this
reason, these decisions will be governed by more practical considerations such as tax
benefits, liability issues, ease of access to capital markets, and so on.

       b. Joint Ventures

         This model will, we believe, be of interest to nonprofit entities interested in
moving beyond the constraints currently imposed on their ability to grow and prosper
financially. Mechanically, the nonprofit would divide off a portion of its activities and
operate them out of a for-profit entity, jointly owned by Eccoes and the nonprofit. The
activities in question could be an existing line of business or a new area of activity,
related to its pre-existing business. Once again, the Foundation would provide legal and
other technical expertise including access to debt and equity financing.

      Needless to say, a nonprofit that collaborated with the Foundation in this way
would be excited by the vision of Radical Decency and the overall promise of the Eccoes
                                                                                               8


Group model. From a strictly dollars and cents perspective, however, the attraction of
such a joint venture would lie in the entity’s ability to segregate a potentially profitable
line of business in an entity specifically designed to develop its money making potential
through the use of standard for-profit business techniques.

        For the right nonprofit, Eccoes would be an excellent partner in such an
enterprise. Given the Foundation’s goals, the risk that the nonprofit’s joint venture
partner would push it to compromise its mission, for the sake of profitability, would be
minimal. Indeed, our hope and expectation is that the demands of Radically Decency
would deeply support and even enhance the nonprofit’s commitment to its core mission.

        This same joint venture model might also be of interest to a for-profit business.
The attraction in this case would be the business’ ability to create a wholly new working
environment, where radically decent business techniques could be explored free from the
pull of the existing entity’s more usual ways of operating.

       c. Eccoes Approved Enterprises

        A third possibility would be for existing business entity to affiliate with Eccoes
Group on a purely contractual basis. This option would appeal to an entity that is
interested in: (1) participating in the Eccoes Group network; and (2) restructuring its
ways of doing business in accordance with the principles of Radical Decency. One pay-
off for such an entity would be its right to use the designation, “An Eccoes Enterprise.”
Our hope is that, as the Eccoes Group network grows, this designation will become an
increasingly valuable marketing and advertising asset.

7. The Eccoes Group in practice

       One way to look at the Eccoes Group model is to theorize, plausibly we think,
that 80% of the time decency and the ability to make money do not conflict – but that
20% of the time they do.

        In this 20% conflictual zone, our current way of doing business persistently
pushes us to be indecent. Because financial success comes first, we feel compelled to do
“whatever we have to do” to be economically successful – to bring in a piece of business
that a competitor who could do better, to charge as much as possible without regard to the
quality of the product or ability of the purchaser to pay, to subtly undercut a co-worker
who is competing for a promotion, to fire longtime employees for the sake of an
improved bottom line, and so on.

        The Eccoes Group’s core commitment is to exactly reverse this equation. In this
20% zone, we will at all times strive to do the radically decent thing rather than all the
things, both large and small, that we are otherwise conditioned to do to squeeze out this
last increment of profit.
                                                                                            9


        A core belief that informs the creation of the Eccoes Group is that, if we are smart
and, crucially, work together in fully cooperative and radically decent ways, we will
make back a good chunk of this last 20%. Moreover, to the extent any of it is lost, we
will happily do without it, given the deep pleasure we get from conducting our
businesses, and lives, in radically decent ways.
                                 ______________________

        While this 80/20 split fairly reflects our experience in the world there is, needless
to say, no guarantee that things will actually turn out that way in fact. For this reason, the
unconditional nature of the Group’s commitment to Radical Decency needs to be
emphasized and underscored. Making money will be an important, even an absorbing,
preoccupation for Eccoes Group members. But when that goal conflicts with Radical
Decency, each member’s choices must consistently and decisively be on the side of the
Group’s core values, without regard to consequences.

         The reason for insisting on this “radical” commitment to decency goes directly
back to the exceptionally clever ways in which our current system marginalizes and
emasculates change efforts. If we give in to the temptation to be decent “usually” or
“mostly” – cutting a corner here, finessing an issue there – our efforts to live differently
will fail. Faced with the overwhelming, culturally reinforced pressure to put profitability
first, we will recede back to a business as usual approach: Sacrificing decency at those
“rubber hits the road” moments when something of perceived economic consequence is
at stake.
                                ________________________

        The Eccoes Group’s insistence on this “radical” approach to decency is – and is
intended to be – life changing. Typically, a business is a collection of people who come
together for the purpose of making money. If non-financial values are considered at all
they are a decidedly secondary priority, subordinated to the organization’s competitive,
income producing goals.

       For the Eccoes Group these priorities are exactly reversed. Participants will come
together, first and foremost, for the purpose of operating their work lives in accordance
with an overarching set of values – Radical Decency. Making money, while very
important, will be a second priority only.

       This approach is very much in line with the vision of an updated “tribe,”
described by Daniel Quinn in Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure
(2000). Quinn’s model is derived from his experience in starting a newspaper, in rural
New Mexico, with his wife and three other people.

        Initially, the newspaper was created to make money. What Quinn noticed over
time, however, was that their more basic reason for keeping their (modestly successful)
business going was not financial but, instead, their desire to live within the values-based
community the newspaper came to represent. Quinn analogizes his experience to a
traditional circus. In distinct contrast to a typical business in today’s world, people joined
                                                                                              10


the circus, not to maximize their income potential, but to live a particular kind of life with
like-minded people.

        If the Eccoes Group makes good on its goals and purposes, it will evolve into just
this sort of community or “tribe.” Work will no longer be a place where our more
humane values are routinely subverted; where we have to fight to retain our decency.
Instead, it will become a community of choice where these values are powerfully
supported and nurtured – even as we earn the money we need to make our way in the
world.

The Foundation’s Vital Role

        Because it is the very water we swim in, we are all constantly at risk of falling
back into our competitive, win/lose ways of operating. For this reason, truly living in a
radically decent way is a tricky and deeply challenging business.

       In seeking to live this kind of life, the devil truly is in the detail. For this reason,
we need to treat Radical Decency, not as an abstract idea, but as a daily practice. We
need to examine our habitual ways of thinking and acting – day-by-day, moment-by-
moment – and be willing to experiment with new and, for this reason, uncomfortable
ways of being.

        Adding to the challenge is the fact that so much of this work takes place in
private, beyond the awareness of even our closest colleagues. Very frequently, the
difference between Radical Decency and business as usual is subtle and virtually
imperceptible – an unspoken word, an assumption allowed to remain in place, an ever so
subtle spin on a set of facts. And yet, internally, the discomfort involved in making the
more decent choice is all too real. Doing business in the usual self-aggrandizing way is
so easy; a more decent choice so much more difficult and emotionally unsettling.

        Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid these innumerable moments of choice.
The only way to make the shift to Radical Decency is to be true to its practice at all times,
including in these exquisitely uncomfortable private moments. Our more decent choices
need to accumulate day-by-day so that, over time, they can grow into new life habits;
ways of being that become, for us, as habitual as our old “business as usual” mindsets
used to be.

        The crucial importance of the Foundation to the overall design of the Group
grows directly out of these challenges. If we are to succeed in this life-altering “radical”
enterprise, the Group’s self-education will need to be creative, persistent, in-depth, and
ever challenging. Group members will only make good in this extraordinarily difficult –
and rewarding – endeavor if they are supported by a robust program of education and
oversight, exploration and mutual support.

       Central to the Group’s design is the belief that responsibility for organizing and
maintaining these effort needs to be placed in an independent entity. Given the
                                                                                           11


magnitude of the challenge, the organizational engine that develops and sustains this
programming needs to be an entity that is thoroughly a part of the network but, at the
same time, free from the day-to-day pressures of operating a constituent business.

        The Foundation perfectly fits this description and is also the very agency that
crafted the Radical Decency philosophy and designed the Eccoes Group structure. It is
uniquely placed to take on the challenge of maintaining the Group’s informing vision and
supporting its members in the difficult task of staying accountable to it.

        The alternative would be to operate without a fully empowered central entity and,
instead, to place primary responsibility for developing and implementing the Group’s
vision with each constituent member. This alternative is, we believe, unworkable.
Simply put, when we are on the firing line, trying to balance our financial self-interest
with the wisdom-stretching demands of Radical Decency, our ability to sort through these
conflicting pressures will inevitably be compromised.

        One very real risk the Group is likely to face, as it organizes and moves forward,
will be the temptation to shrink its investment in the Foundation. Given the realities of
the world in which we live, the constituent members will almost certainly be prone to the
fears – and the very real pressures – that exist around money. Influenced by these
factors, they could easily fall prey to the belief that they can develop the Radical Decency
philosophy on their own; that less money and fewer resources need to be allocated to the
Foundation.

       One the one aspect of this scenario that makes it particularly worrisome is that, if
this mindset takes hold, nothing bad will happen. To the contrary, good people will
continue to develop their business in more decent ways and will continue to talk about
Radical Decency.

        But the risk to the Group’s overall vision will be no less real. Replicating the
process of domestication and marginalization, described above with respect to other
change efforts, a group of businesses that really are more decent will continue to operate.
However, Group’s original vision and reason for being – a radically different alternative
that deeply changes our lives and offers a compelling model of change to others – will
recede and disappear.

        In short, given the insistent and pervasive pressures to revert to a “business as
usual” mindset, the slope is too slippery, the challenges too big, the work too hard – and
the potential rewards too great – to go forward without a vital, fully empowered
Foundation at the center of the enterprise.

        A second reason for the constituent members to invest generously in the
Foundation lies in its ability to program across the entire system. To realize its potential,
both substantively and financially, the Group will need to aggressively explore its
potential for creating multi-member services, products, and marketing alliances. To the
extent these possibilities are realized: (1) the spread of Radical Decency both within the
                                                                                          12


Eccoes Group and in the larger community will be enhanced; and (2) the Group will
more fully realize the financial upside, inherent in the system’s design; a financial upside
that we hope and believe will make up for some or all of the dollars willingly left on the
table due to our commitment to Radical Decency.

        Constituent members will undoubtedly contribute to these efforts. But the day-to-
day demands of their core businesses will inevitably limit their ability to design and
implement these more creative possibilities. Here, too, a well-funded Foundation will be
ideally placed to lead the Group’s effort to fully realize its potential.
                                                                                         13



                               Attachment A
                   Summary of the Eccoes Foundation’s Activities
Grantmaking. Its first programmatic initiative, the Foundation has served as a locus for
communal giving. Interested participants donate money to a common pool and invest
their combined dollars in organizations that creatively explore the intersection between
social justice and personal growth. In its last grantmaking cycle, in June 2004, Eccoes
provided approximately $20,000 to 6 different organizations.

Support Connections. This program provides therapy, coaching, and other professional
services to social activists and other people in financial need. Clients are matched with a
participating professional and are charged a fee, based on their ability to pay. The fee is
paid directly to the Foundation its initiatives and program administration

Service Trips Overseas. Eccoes provides opportunities to work with disenfranchised
people overseas. The program allows us to understand the real texture of global poverty
and disenfranchisement. Foundation activists have worked in Mexico (2000) and El
Salvador (2003). A trip to Honduras is planned for the summer of 2005.

Service Activities in Philadelphia. During the summer of 2004, the Foundation
partnered with residents of East Parkside, in West Philadelphia, to build and beautify a
park and playground. A similar project is in the planning stages for the summer of 2005.
The Foundation also offers tutoring opportunities in a neighborhood’s elementary school.

Communal Gatherings. From its inception, the Foundation has provided opportunities
for like-minded people to get together – to deepen their sense of connection and
community. The Foundation’s Bi-monthly Community Gathering program, now in its
third year, combines social events with facilitated dialogues on different aspects of the
Foundation’s mission. Other communal events have included a Friday night potluck
dinner series, theatre outings, and grantee sponsored events.

Practicums and Suport Groups. In 2003-04, the Foundation offered a year-long
practicum, under the leadership of Philip Lichtenberg, Director of the Gestalt Therapy
Institute of Philadelphia. This practicum explored the values that lie at the center of the
Foundation’s mission and the challenges involved in more fully implementing these
values in our lives. A second Practicum, exploring these same issues, is set to begin in
April 2005. In January 2005, Eccoes initiated a support group for attorneys interested in
exploring the ways in which Radical Decency can be more fully implemented in their
profession. In the future, the Foundation plans to create similar groups for other
businesses and professions.

Scholarship. Jeff Garson, Eccoes co-founder, has produced a series of papers that
explore in depth Radical Decency and the ideas the Foundation seeks to promote. He is
also in the process of writing a book that will provide a comprehensive overview of what
                                                                                     14


Radical Decency is, why it is important, and how it might be implemented at both a
personal and systemic level.

								
To top