I want to wish you all a spectacular 2014. For my team and me, and the entire Values Based Financial system, it is looking to be a watershed year.
Doing the heavy lifting–or farming as I call it, rather than hunting–is often quite tough and needs a continuous boost of inspiration. I was thinking who within my close inner circle gives me that inspiration to keep going. There were so many, far too many to count, but two in particular stood out last year.
Rieki Crins-Rubinstein is the most authentic, genuine, passionate, committed person I’ve ever met. She is in-your-face telling her authentic truth, no matter how uncomfortable that might be. As a social entrepreneur, she decided to go for an achievable moon shot: create a wholly new hospitality concept in a frontier market (Bhutan), with the goal of achieving financial returns for investors, and most importantly, creating jobs for unemployed youth. In addition, on top of creating a chain of 5 star culturally authentic and carbon neutral hotels, she is starting a vocational school for teaching hospitality and entrepreneurship. What drives her is the fulfillment that she gets from helping an individual grow, not the cash in the bank.
In spite of her negative feelings about the world, she is one of the most passionate lovers of life individuals I know. She has shown me the true meaning of generosity, kindness, passion, and love. Rieki is a great mother, caregiver, amazing cook, fantastic sense of humor, and has a brilliant mind. Even with a PhD in anthropology, she still enjoys silly reality TV, which is why my wife Rieki is, and will remain, my greatest inspiration.
Michael Knagenhjelm is a dear friend, TBLI Ambassador and one of the most positive, generous people I know. He has waged an on-again, off-again battle with cancer for a very long time. He never lets that bring him down; he keeps fighting and winning. Sometimes there would be a relapse, but his spirit never wavered, Nor did his commitment to create an economy based upon well being.
Recently he had another relapse, and while still going through on chemotherapy, he would be calling me and guiding and mentoring me as to how to scale TBLI up. He opened doors for us, helping us expand and create TBLI Nordic—our first Conference in the region. When I visited him last year, he organized a beautiful dinner with his wife and had friends over. The entire time, his health was taking its toll on his body, but never on his spirit.
I have watched Michael deal with adversity. I saw how in spite of the pain he still has the strength to help others, and all the time being playful and fun. Definitely a TBLI hero. Thank you, Michael.
Over the years, we have received numerous enquiries by grant-making foundations and individuals about whether TBLI had a charitable vehicle to accept grants and donations. We are pleased to announce that Stichting (Foundation) TBLI has now been set up to receive donations in a tax-efficient manner and is now partnering with SharedImpact – the global donor-advised fund. Later this year, we will have a non-profit entity (501(c)(3)) for donors and grant-makers in the United States, a registered charity for donors in the UK, a registered charity for donors in Hong Kong, and a charitable vehicle for The Netherlands. This will allow us to scale up our educational outreach on ESG and Impact Investing to asset owners and managers, and to pursue partnerships with other non-profits with missions similar to ours. We look forward to working with our network as we transform TBLI for our stakeholders around the world.
I think this will be a great year for all of us.