My business partner Dan, showed me this article about Maggie Dunne in Glamour magazine. First of all, I love that this article appeared in Glamour. This type of coverage means that their editors are promoting all kinds of beauty. Using your intelligence and education to be altruistic is one of the most beautiful displays of womanhood there is. Bravo Glamour!
Maggie’s story is truly inspiring. Looking at the amount of dollars invested in your higher education, you can’t help but thinking as a business-driven person, when am I going to earn enough money to see a return on that investment? I’ll be completely honest, that was what I was about, and still am to a certain extent. Luckily I am thinking bigger than how to grow my paycheck, but how to finance my longer-term goals to help abused/neglected/abandoned children without an advocate. That is what drives me to build a business and find an exit in my current endeavor.
Maggie is jumping right into the fire though, and I applaud her for it. She saw an opportunity to make a meaningful difference for Native Americans, and address the poverty, infrastructure, and educational challenges facing these communities that are almost cut off from the outside world. Most people mistakenly assume that with all the casinos that are owned by Native American tribes, that all the profit goes back into the reservations.
The tribes that own these casinos have no more obligation to help progress the plight of Native Americans than Donald Trump has to help the broke masses in Las Vegas or around his casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Donald Trump is notoriously cheap (thesmokinggun.com) when it comes to sharing the wealth. Why should we assume that the billionaire Native American casino owners would be any different?
As with any poverty-stricken area, substance abuse amongst Native Americans is very high. There is a non-profit called “Native Directions”, trying to address this epidemic. They have an FAQ entitled “WHY DOES NATIVE DIRECTIONS NEED DONATIONS TO OPERATE? DON’T THE NATIVE AMERICAN CASINO’S MAKE ENOUGH MONEY FOR THE OPERATIONS OF YOUR ORGANIZATION?”. Their answer is extremely politically correct, I think I would have been a little more brutal :)
Social entrepreneurship doesn’t always have to be non-profit. There is something to be said to earn dollars too. That doesn’t mean greed. It just means that you’ve figured out a way to keep your entity funded that isn’t solely dependent on donations. Anything with baked in value-exchange that people are willing to pay for can also be a path towards making the world a better place.
Anyone who chooses the path of social entrepreneurship whether for profit, or non-profit gets my full support. Those are the types of organizations I will seek out as soon as our business is financially sound. Well done Maggie!!!!