Most Generous Community is part of the Charitable Assets Pillar of CanDO!, Charlotte, Michigan

About the Most Generous Community

A New Story

One story plays out every day in the national media. It is a story of economic decline, scarcity, and fear. Each day the story is told through another business, industry, even nation. We hear it on the morning news, encounter it when entering our workplaces, see it in our communities. In the crises is a deeper failure-the failure of self-interest and greed, of old-style competition, to create abundance. The story of scarcity is a true story, and the only one we really know how to tell. But there are others- equally true, equally possible.

There are probable futures and preferable futures. Preferable futures come about by design. They happen when someone or someplace moves in a new direction- against the tide, against the odds. A new story is waiting to be written. It is the story of how to create abundance through generosity-of the power of generosity to do what the market cannot and the government will not. It is the story of how generosity can become an organizing principle among a group of people. Charlotte intends to be the first of many communities becoming more abundant through generosity.

It will begin a new story.

A Preferable Future

Charlotte intends to demonstrate a new possibility-how a community can increase abundance through generosity. And it intends to do so in partnership with one or many national philanthropic partners who invest in Charlotte's ability to learn and lead others. Charlotte is already a great place to live. But like most communities, it faces a probable future driven by the prevailing economic trends of scarcity and downturn. Organizations in the community will have to do more with less. Some segments of people will experience greater actual poverty. Many others will feel psychic poverty, anxiety, and fear. The choice is whether to try and just survive through this probable future, or whether to create one entirely different.

It is possible that the solution to scarcity is not just having more-but using what we have in new ways. Generosity and collaboration may create abundance in ways that greed and competition cannot.

Most communities have vast reservoirs of wealth in all its forms that could be put in motion to increase prosperity-energy, ability, money, wisdom. But only a small portion is released.

A person gifted in math may not even know about a student who is struggling. An elder with extra time may or may not be connected to a single parent with very little. The child who could assist the elder, the elder who could assist the child, the person of great wealth who could give or invest some in ways to increase prosperity for others . . . everywhere are elements that could come into new creative relationship.

A preferable future begins with the premise of abundance-that we have right now all we need. We have enough to give, to share, to release. Just as psychic poverty and the assumption of insufficiency lead to hoarding and holding-and generate more actual poverty-so the assumption of abundance leads to generosity, giving, and real prosperity.

Charlotte will demonstrate how to become more generous, how to become more abundant. And by so doing, it makes clear that what happens in this one place could occur in every place.