Does the phrase “dynamic ass kicking machine of love” mean anything to you?
If you attended Robert Egger‘s keynote address at the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s fall conference on October 8th, this should ring a bell.
It was one of the better keynotes I’ve seen, and I found myself messily scribbling down the pithy sound bites, at the same time I was trying to digest them and listen for the next one (If you see something here in quotes, know that it is a paraphrase, and not approved by Mr. Egger). Though I might not have accurately captured the outline of his presentation, these nuggets should give you the flavor of it.
- A common thread was collaboration and the collective impact of nonprofits. Building power is the first priority, then providing services. It’s about capacity. His organization evolved from a service model to an empowerment model.
- “It used to be, getting elected meant you got to give it away. Now it means you have to take it back.” Yeah, public office just got a lot less fun.
- After a youth of service, we then make people choose between being being a dot-com or a dot-org. One or the other. The next generation is hungry for a new way to make a living, and a new way to do philanthropy. [Which some businesses are starting to do with B Corp]
- The nonprofit sector is the economic equivalent of India. [My own fact check did not exactly support this.*] “If the nonprofit sector were a country, we would have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.” We comprise 10% of US employment.
- “There is no profit in America without Nonprofits.” Communities attract a thriving business sector through good education, health care, arts, natural environment: all the things nonprofits nurture and defend.
- In his closing remarks, he quoted Hunter S. Thompson: “Better to be shot out of a cannon than squeezed out of a tube.” So true.
From his official bio:
Robert Egger is the Founder and President of the DC Central Kitchen, the country’s first “community kitchen”, where food donated by hospitality businesses and farms is used to fuel a nationally recognized culinary arts job training program, where unemployed men and women learn marketable skills while donations are converted into balanced meals. Since opening in 1989, the Kitchen has produced over 23 million meals and helped 800 men and women gain full time employment.
*I looked at GDP, and value of wages and benefits. A 2009 report from the Congressional Research Service put the nonprofit sector at 5% of the US GDP, or a little over $700 billion in 2008. India is currently around $4 trillion – but regardless, nonprofits still account for a hefty share of the US economy.