Marlowe Foster believes that nonprofit leadership is personified through God the Father’s choice to give His only begotten Son to suffer death on a cross for forgiveness of ALL sins. Marlowe cites C.S. Lewis’ The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe as charitable metaphor. Here’s what Lewis wrote…
“If the witch understood the true meaning of sacrifice, she might have interpreted the Deep Magic differently, for when a willing victim who has committed no treachery, dies in a traitor’s stead, the stone table will crack and even death itself will turn backwards.” – C.S. Lewis, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe.
I know many are reading this saying to themselves that Marlowe is being rather dramatic. How do you compare the sacrifice made by Christ and the leadership he demonstrated, to the nonprofit community and lack of real leadership. Here is where I stand. As my pastor says, as people of faith, we are required to press in. We are required to live this life in community. We are required to engage, support and lift up the least of those. Often times (especially for me) this is not natural and not the most comfortable. But, it is required. And if you, much like Jesus, are not as committed to the sacrifice, to pressing in, to taking up your cross, WALK AWAY. You are doing those you serve a disservice. They deserve better……
I am passionate about being a counselor at PAX Global because it is a blessing to be engaged with those nonprofit leaders who are truly committed to building better lives for those that they serve. Now here is the rub. Most shun the dirtiest of dirty work. Most are more comfortable not making themselves vulnerable or humble. Most refuse to bear the burden of their daily cross. Make no mistake. For those that are true leaders, faith driven or not, agnostic or not, or whether they realize it or not, they get in the muck and mire. They accept the burden of the cross. They are vulnerable and they are humble. And they speak truth!
The Truths about Nonprofits:
1. Most boards are dysfunctional.
2. Executive Directors/CEO’s are not given the appropriate latitude by their boards to truly lead.
3. Money is more important than mission (because without money, there is no mission).
4. Donors are the primary customers (because again, without money, customers are not served).
5. Like most other places, many in the community are just collecting a paycheck.
6. Accountability is missing.
As leaders in the nonprofit space IT IS TIME TO PRESS IN PEOPLE!! It is time to address these truths and provide solutions for these truths. And through this pressing in, it is high-time to transform lives. I host a seasonal podcast (Fall and Spring) entitled the Leadership Lounge with Marlowe Foster. During the Spring Season I was blessed to interview leaders who have truly pressed in. William Moore, Executive Director of the Eleanor Crook Foundation which focuses on global malnutrition and under nutrition. Alison Strickland, Chief Development Officer of InterAct in Raleigh, North Carolina. InterAct saves lives, rebuilds lives and creates safer futures for those who are victims of domestic violence. And, Bob Gfeller. Bob started a nonprofit focused on pediatric brain trauma after the death of his son from a head and neck injury sustained in a high school football game. Pressing in….taking up their cross….delivering…..in the dirt, in the muck.
Truth be told there are no secrets here. True leadership is hard work. “And being in anguish he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Jesus, the ultimate nonprofit leader was so anguished by what his leadership required, he sweat drops of blood. And while none of us can compare to his leadership and the ultimate sacrifice made on the cross to demonstrate his leadership, the question I have for you is, are you even trying?
“Marlowe Foster – Piety Prevents Ministries From Growing” was published by Jimmy LaRose
Marlowe Foster brings a highly desirable and unique skill-set to PAX Global. Having served as a not-for-profit chief executive, represented two Fortune 50 companies in community and government relations and served on the board of numerous non-profits, he understands the challenges your organization faces. He gets it as a leader, a board member and one who has had to deliver services. Marlowe grew up in Virginia and attended Virginia Commonwealth University where he received both a BA in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration concentrating in finance. Not long after graduate school, Marlowe relocated to North Carolina. It was in North Carolina that Marlowe honed his business acumen, fundraising ability and non-profit board experience. Seeing a need in Winston-Salem North Carolina, the Senior Services Board of Trustees (of which Marlowe was a board member) launched and met a multi-million dollar campaign to establish an Alzheimer’s adult day care center in the city. It later became known as the Williams Adult Day Care Center. In addition, Marlowe has served on the board of such non-profits as the American Lung Association (NC Chapter), Tanglewood Advisory Committee, NC Progress Board and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Advisory Panel. Marlowe loves the business of running an organization. And with the laser-like focus of a true businessman, he knows as Jimmy LaRose says, “money is the oxygen for your non-profit.” His personal mission is to ensure that the needs of your donors are met, so that you have the money for your organization to deliver superior services. And while Marlowe’s business sense is front and center, it is interlaced with his strong faith knowing that we are called to live this life together, walking and supporting each other in community. Marlowe is married to Evelyn his wife of twenty years. They have two children Kristiahn and Noah.