Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Upcoming Opportunity From Mission Increase Foundation

Boards With Passion and Purpose
Committed - Active - Well-informed - Accountable.

Do these words describe your Board of Directors? If not, they should! Learn what it means to have a board that supports the mission and the staff, taking ownership in the success of the organization.

In this workshop, you will hear essential principles for having an effective Board. We will answer questions about:
  • Recruiting and Involving Board Members
  • Key Responsibilities of a Board Member
  • Board Members' Role in Fundraising and Other Sustaining Activities.

Who should attend? CEO's, Directors of Development, and Board members.

Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Club Donatello
The Terrace Room
501 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

*Convenient Public Parking Available At Union Square
Seats are limited to this free workshop; please sign up right away. You may register online for this free workshop here.

To learn more about other Mission Increase Foundation trainings in your area visit our website www.missionincrease.org and click on Seminar Sign-Up.

Don’t just come to the workshop; apply for a grant!

Mission Increase Foundation welcomes applications for development funding and training from qualified evangelical Christian ministries; start your application today at www.missionincrease.org.

Who Is Mission Increase Foundation?

Mission Increase Foundation was founded in 1999 with a unique mission: to transform lives for Christ by providing grants and training to local Christian ministries to improve their financial stability and enhance their ability to raise donations for themselves. Since 1999

Mission Increase Foundation has worked with over 300 ministries and given away over $ 10 million of matching grants.

Mission Increase Foundation has offices in Colorado Springs, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle with plans to expand throughout the western United States.

For more information about Mission Increase Foundation or the upcoming workshop, please contact Tracy Nordyke via email at tnordyke@missionincrease.org.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Headed out of Town

I'm headed out of town for a few days of rest and relaxation. I was invited by a good friend of mine to join him for a few days of golf and fellowship with a group of guys. I'm VERY thankful for the opportunity to get away. We'll be golfing at
Bailey Creek Golf Course each morning until Friday.

I'm hoping to improve my game a little and clear my head after an incredibly busy season. Not sure how much blogging I'll do...

Peninsula Covenant Church

Last Sunday I was privileged to attend and speak at Peninsula Covenant Church. While I've known of the church for years (many friends of mine attend there including NCUD's team member Jenni) I hadn't had a real contact with them. My good friend Rob McCleland introduced me to Pastor Gary Gaddini a few months ago. Gary is a great guy and wonderful pastor. Gary interviewed me before his message on Sunday. He's teaching out of the book of Esther, talking about "Risk it All" You can hear the sermon here, but I'm not sure if my part is included.

I was overwhelmed by the support and words of encouragement for our project. One member who approached me runs a local heating and ventilation company. For the past year and a half we've been sweltering and freezing in our office. He came by yesterday and in a matter of minutes had cool, fresh air cruising through our offices! What a HUGE blessing!

I walked away from my day at PCC feeling thankful for the Body of Christ. I look forward to deepening my relationship with Pastor Gary and the family at PCC!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Found Old Friend

An old friend called the other day. Actually we've been playing phone tag. Vann was an important part of my life in my high school years. We had a lot of great times, both of us trying to figure out what to do with big city dreams in a small southern town. Part of my love for music is due to him. I'm looking forward to catching up with him more. Check out his myspace here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Guns and Christians

My friend Chris Brooks has an excellent post in his blog about Christians and guns. As he usually is, he's transparent and brutally honest. As is his custom, he asks a poignant question: When a Christian lives in an urban "war-zone" and feels the need to protect his/her family, is it OK to own a banger (gun)? Why or why not?

Surf over to Chris' site and post your thoughts.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

New Ryan Adams Track

The new
Ryan Adams album, Easy Tiger, came out in June. Ryan continues to be one of my favorite musicians. It took a while to connect with the new record, but after a few listens I'm beginning to appreciate it more and more. It's his best since Cold Roses, but my friend Kevin would disagree. My favorite track is 'Two'. To me, it's Ryan at his best. He performed it on David Letterman. Check it out:

Q. So, what are you listening to these days?

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Word...

During my time down with the UYWI crew we bantered around some text of scripture that would serve as a theme for next year's conference. One text that jumped out, (I don't know if it will be a part of the theme or not) - Psalm 23. John Lewis encouraged me to read it out of The Message since I had a copy with me. It really struck me between the eyes. It reads:
God, my shepherd
I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows
you find me quiet pools to drink from.

True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when my way goes through Death Valley
I'm not afraid
When you wank at my side
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the House of God
For the rest of my life.
I've read this text possibly hundreds of times. Something about this translation grabbed me. We've been in a season of reaping and blessing with the ministry. The credit union is close to being a reality, our youth programs kick off in a matter of weeks. The golf tournament was a resounding success. Things are definitely moving forward and it's feeling like the three years of hard work are beginning to pay off.

However, on the home front it's been a time of testing and perseverance. My wife Melissa's job at New Creation Home , (that she loves dearly) can be challenging. It's not the the work, it's just that it's painful to watch young people struggle to make right choices. In ministering to students, it's sometimes hard not to take their poor choices personally. In addition, without going into too much detail, there are some personal challenges to us regarding faith and finances that we're working through.

Ultimately, I think we're feeling a little weary from the last few intense years of planting and ministering.

So - I'm hanging on to this text. I'm praying for "quiet pools and lush meadows" for our family. I love the words, "your beauty and love chase after me". I believe and trust that God grace and love with not only chase but overtake us.

Not to sound too depressed, we're thrilled to be serving God and and our community. God is a faithful and loving God! I'm glad to be resting in the palm of his hand!

Q. What's going on in your life? In what areas do you need "quiet pools and lush meadows'? How does this translation of Psalm 23 speak to you?

Update from the last week

So, it's been an exciting couple of weeks. Last Friday was our annual golf tournament supporting NCUD's efforts. We had an amazing event, doubling the revenue from the previous year. If you've not had the chance to play Poppy Ridge Golf Course you really should! Better yet, mark your calendar for July 18th, 2008, the date of next year's tournament! Thanks to all our sponsors, golfers and especially our golf committee this was a fabulous event.

Last Wednesday we reached an important milestone. As the press release I posted last week suggested, we had a signing ceremony where the four credit unions who have come together to make Community Trust Credit Union of East Palo Alto a reality. In the picture are the CEO's of Addison Avenue Credit Union, Patelco Credit Union, Stanford Federal Credit Union and Community Trust Credit Union (Modesto). Now once we receive our permits from the city of East Palo Alto we can begin building out the building and push toward opening day!

Lastly, earlier this week I was privileged to be part of a group that planned next year's Urban Youthworker's Institute. What a joy to work with an amazing group of leaders to seek God for the May '08 conference. They are beginning to post the general sessions from last year on podcasts through itunes. I suggest you pick up some of them. I want to thanks Larry Acosta and the UYWI team for being faithful to the vision God has given them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CiCi Smith Singing Gospel

CiCi grew up in
BCM programs. She was also part of our church when we were active. CiCi is a bright sharp young woman with a great voice!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

press release

Stanford Federal Credit Union
1500 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94306

DRAFT July 12, 2007
News Release
CONTACT: Phoebe Wall Howard, 415-246-8794


For the first time in state history, three large credit unions are partnering on a major reinvestment project that will contribute to economic stability in East Palo Alto.

Community leaders who have worked over the past three years to win state approval will meet at the DLA Piper Law Firm in East Palo Alto on July 18 at 10 a.m. to sign the Memorandum of Understanding that seals the partnership among credit unions and allows the project to move forward. Doors open to the public in September.

The East Palo Alto Credit Union will technically be listed as a branch of Community Trust Credit Union in Modesto because CEO Joe Duran is considered an expert on revitalization and Latino outreach.

City Council Member Ruben Abrica said, “People have historically had to struggle in our young city. We’re hard-working people with obstacles. Anything that is done to empower our community is welcome. This credit union will provide much-needed services.”

The new not-for-profit institution will reinvest all its dollars in the local community, said Mayor David E. Woods. “Conventional financial institutions do not have the flexibility or the will to tailor to the needs of our community. This fills a deep void.”

John Liotti, CEO of the Northern California Urban Development Corporation, led the effort and said, “It has been a long road. This is about making people financially independent rather than victims to predatory lending institutions.”

The project is modeled after successes in Modesto, Calif., Mississippi and North Carolina.

“We know that many people in the community are ‘unbanked’ and lack access to money for purchasing a home or car,” said John Davis, CEO of Stanford Federal Credit Union of Palo Alto.

Stanford Federal Credit Union, which serves 44,000 members of the Stanford community with assets of some $640 million, will mentor community leaders and create a framework for proper policies, procedures and financial goals. It has partnered with two other major credit unions ~ Patelco Credit Union in San Francisco and Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union headquartered in Palo Alto ~ to coordinate efforts and build a $10 million asset base for the project.

Contributing credit unions will donate money for operating capital; invest $100,000 in the new institution’s certificates of deposit at 0% interest for three years, which provides additional operating capital for the project; buy loans; provide performance reviews of the institutional quarterly; and assist with member education. There is an aggressive effort to reach out to credit unions throughout the region to support the unique project.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dr. Julia Hare - Covenant with Black America

Dr. Julia Hare speaks at the State of Black America at Hampton University in Virginia. She has many valid and interesting points including the role of parents in raising children, the media and 'leading blacks' vs 'Black leaders'. Check out the Covenant with Black America, which she references.

The Bronx is Burning

Great new mini series on ESPN about Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson and the 1977 New York Yankees. I remember that team well and as a nine year old I was captured by 'Captain' Thurman Munson, Reggie, Greg Nettles and, of course, Manager Billy Martin and coach Yogi Berra. I also remember NYC during that time and the general feeling of despair and decay. The series captures the mood well.

The Yankees website reports:
The mini-series is based on the acclaimed book "Ladies and Gentleman, the Bronx is Burning" by Jonathan Mahler, and it represents one of the most significant original programming efforts in ESPN's history. The story is set against the backdrop of a city that in 1977 was in financial turmoil and moral decay, where a bitter mayoral race was being waged, where Rupert Murdoch's brand-new influence on the Post tabloid was felt in a sensational way, where the Son of Sam case gripped a city in terror, where a heat wave and subsequent blackout led to widespread looting, where arson and racism and Studio 54 decadence all converged in a sordid, searing summer.

And right there in the middle of it all, surely in the starring role for this series, was the ceaseless battle featuring: a "superduperstar" known simply as "Reggie" (played by Daniel Sunjata); Martin (John Turturro), the firebrand manager who had won so often before as a Yankee infielder; and meddling club owner George Steinbrenner (Oliver Platt), who bought the Bombers in 1973 and was determined to see them win a title they had not seen since 1962 ... whatever it took.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Are New York wine lovers less sophisticated than California tasters?

The New York Times reports:
In the 35 years since vines began sprouting out of its sandy soil, the North Fork of Long Island has fought to be recognized as a bona fide wine region, and now more than a million visitors a year visit the tasting rooms at its 30 vineyards to sample award-winning merlots and cabernet francs.

But this season, small signs bearing stern messages — “No Buses,” “No Limos,” “Appointment Only” — have sprouted outside many of the wineries. There also are reports of tastings gone wild involving intoxicated visitors who have tossed back full glasses of wine without regard to nose or body until they grabbed the brass spittoon for baser purposes.

The latest additions to local lore include a story about members of an inebriated group at the Palmer Vineyards here who hopped off a hayride and began gallivanting naked through the vines. Then there were the drunken customers at the Pugliese Vineyards in Cutchogue who jumped into the shimmering lake next to the elegant outdoor tasting area. And the bachelorette parties that often culminate in tabletop dances, to the horror of nearby oenophiles sniffing or sipping the local chardonnays.

“All of a sudden it’s five deep at the bar with people knocking into each other and pushing each other out of the way to get to the tasting,” said Kristen Venasky, 27, who has been pouring for two years at Palmer. “Saturdays,” she said, “are for people who want to get sloshed.”

On a somewhat related note, we have two winery's working with us on the NCUD golf tournament this year, Miner Family Vineyards and Spring Mountain Vineyards. Both have been great partners and have excellant wines. Check them out.

Also, check out the Conan O'Brian clip at Spring Mountain Vineyard. It's laugh out loud funny.

It's official, California wine tasters are more astute... At least NYC has the Yankees!

At the All Star Fan Fest in SF

At the festivites around tomorrow's baseball All Star Game in SF. Yes, this is shameless advertizing from State Farm insurance.

Mashup Conference in SF

Mashup Conference in SF next week. Can's go this year, but it's an intriguing lineup and topic.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What People Talk About...

Borrowing more stuff from Guy Kawasaki's blog. Guy is quoting a book by Lois Kelly called, "Beyond Buzz, the next generation of word of mouth marketing." One of the key questions for those of us in the non profit / church world when approaching potential partners / donors / members is how to crate a buzz and how to capture people's attention. What captures people's attention? How do we get our potential constituents talking? Guy has some great thoughts:
If you’re pitching your company to investors, customers, partners, journalists, vendors, or employees and you don’t use at least one of these types of stories, you probably have a problem.

1. Aspirations and beliefs. More than any other topic, people like to hear about aspirations and beliefs. (This may be why religion is the most popular word-of-mouth topic, ever.) Sun Microsystems’ Scott McNealy’s point of view about ending the digital divide is aspirational as is Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s views about how companies can grow by reducing pollution and creating more sustainable business strategies. Aspirations are helpful because they help us connect emotionally to the speaker, the company, and the issues. They help us see into a person or company’s soul.

2. David vs. Goliath. In the story of David and Goliath, the young Hebrew David took on the Philistine giant Goliath and beat him. It is the way Southwest Airlines conquered the big carriers, the way the once unknown Japanese car manufacturers took on Detroit, and the way social media is taking on the media giants. Sharing stories about how a small organization is taking on a big company is great business sport. Rooting for the underdog grabs our emotions, creates meaning, and invokes passion. We like to listen to the little guy talk about how he’s going to win and why the world—or the industry—will be a better place for it.

3. Avalanche about to roll. The mountain is rumbling, the sun is getting stronger, but the rocks and snow are yet to fall. You want to tune in and listen to the “avalanche about to roll” topic because you know that there’s a chance that you will be killed if caught unaware. This theme taps into our desire to get the inside story before it’s widely known. It’s not only interesting to hear someone speak about these ideas, they have the ingredients for optimal viral and pass-along effect.

4. Contrarian/counterintuitive/challenging assumptions. These three themes are like first cousins, similar in many ways but slightly different. Contrarian perspectives defy conventional wisdom; they are positions that often are not in line with—or may even be directly opposite to—the wisdom of the crowd. The boldness of contrarian views grabs attention; the more original and less arrogant they are, the more useful they will be in provoking meaningful conversations.

Counterintuitive ideas fight with what our intuition (as opposed to a majority of the public) says is true. When you introduce counterintuitive ideas, it takes people a minute to reconcile the objective truth with their gut assumption about the topic. Framing views counter to how we intuitively think about topics—going against natural “gut instincts”—pauses and then resets how we think and talk about concepts.

Challenging widely-held assumptions means that when everyone else says the reason for an event is X, you show that it’s actually Y. Challenging assumptions is good for debate and discussion, and especially important in protecting corporate reputation.

5. Anxieties. Anxiety is a cousin of the avalanche about to roll, but it is more about uncertainty than an emerging, disruptive trend. Examples of anxiety themes abound: (1) Financial services companies urging baby boomers to hurry up and invest more for retirement: “You’re 55. Will you have your needed $3.2 million to retire comfortably?” (2) Tutoring companies planting seeds of doubt about whether our kids will score well enough on the SATs to get into a good college. Although anxiety themes grab attention, go easy. People are becoming skeptical, and rightly so. Too many politicians, companies have bombarded us with FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) with no facts to back up their point.

6. Personalities and personal stories. There’s nothing more interesting than a personal story with some life lessons to help us understand what makes executives tick and what they value the most. The points of these personal stories are remembered, retold, and instilled into organizational culture. Robert Goizueta, the respected CEO of Coca-Cola, said he hated giving speeches but he was always telling stories—often personal ones about how he and his family had to flee Cuba when Castro took control and had nothing more than his education.

Similarly, when Steve Jobs gave the commencement address to Stanford University in June 2005, he shared his personal story and life lessons. That commencement address, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish,” was talked about on thousands of blog and was published verbatim in Fortune magazine. It helped us see Jobs in a new light.

7. How-to stories and advice. Theoretical and thought-provoking ideas are nice, but people love pragmatic how-to advice: how to solve problems, find next practices, and overcome common obstacles. To be interesting, how-to themes need to be fresh and original, providing a new twist to what people already know or tackle thorny issues like how to get IT and marketing organizations to work together despite deep culture clashes between the two.

8. Glitz and glam. Robert Palmer sang about being addicted to love. Our society is more addicted to glamour and celebrity. Finding a way to logically link to something glitzy and glamorous is a surefire conversation starter. For example, tagging on to the widespread interest in the Academy Awards, Randall Rothenberg, former director of intellectual property at consultancy Booz Allen-Hamilton, last year talked about the similarity and challenges between creating new “star” product brands and movie stars.

9. Seasonal/event-related. Last, and least interesting but seems to resonate, is tying your topic into seasonal or major events. Talking about industry predictions around the New Year, advertising during SuperBowl season, executive compensation reform when an executive of a well known company “resigns” with an especially bloated compensation package are examples of this type of story.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Immigration and Amnesty

Last month Time did an excellent article on the immigration debate. It addresses specifically why a smart amnesty program would be good for the US.

I've been deeply disturbed by the fervor around this current debate. I understand the issues around national security. I'm sensing a meanness in the rhetoric flowing from one of the viewpoints. We must remember that we're dealing with real people and real families. Could Bull Conner's dogs be barking again?

I agree that we need a comprehensive review and rehabilitation of our current immigration system. We must deal with an international border that is porous. But, let's work for a way to stem the flow of illegal immigration while allowing for sufficient visas to satisfy our country's labor needs.

However, the fact of the matter is that there are over 12 million undocumented immigrants in our country. They have become a integral part of the fabric of our society. Many are have children who are legal American citizens. It's illogical to believe that we could effectively and justly remove over 12 million of our residents in a way that doesn't do dramatic damage to our economy.

I had the stomach flu last week. While recuperating I popped in a copy of the movie Godfather 2. While watching the movie again I thought a lot about my own family's immigrant experience. I'm far enough down the generational line to really have a grasp of what my immigrant ancestors endured. But I imagine it's not altogether different from the my neighbors who hail from Mexico and Central America. I thought about famous words from the Statue of Liberty that my ancestors saw when pulling into Ellis Island.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
I'm not an expert and, frankly, there are many who are smarter and more informed on this issue than I. However, each day I look into the eyes of hard working immigrants who love their family and just want a safe and peaceful place to thrive. When I look at the photos of the immigrants of the last century, I see the same look in their eyes. I'm the product of that longing and struggle.

The tenancy is to be pollyannish and assume that blanket amnesty is the answer or to be draconian and insist that kicking everyone out is the best course of action. I'm sure there is a safe and just middle ground. However, the war drums are beating and even a staunch right wing president doesn't seem able to inject sensibility into the hard liner's platform.

Above and beyond the political discussions, I believe that there is a Biblical mandate for justice and fair treatment of the aliens in our midst. The often overused idiom comes into plan, "What would Jesus do?" How would Jesus call us to act toward the 'huddled masses' who have found their way into our nation? I, as are all Christians, am called to live by a different creed, dictated by the life of Christ and the Word of God. This is what we will be judged by, not by the political ruminations of the Right or Left, Fox or CNN.

Read the Time article and please let me know your thoughts. As I mentioned, this is beginning to disturb me greatly. I think there is a justice issue brewing where the church is being called to action.