The Non-Profit Paradigm

The Non-Profit businesses that I’ve worked or volunteered for depend on a paradigm which prevents a long term solution. It separates our population into Takers, Givers, and Normals. Takers are at the bottom of the totem pole, and are considered helpless and needy. Givers are willing to sacrifice the opportunity to live normal independent lives to take care of the takers and often get burned out. Normals have a for-profit job, take care of themselves, create a bubble to live in, and become agitated when something outside their bubble impacts their life. Givers don’t have the resources to “fix” the Takers, the Takers are helpless to improve their own situation, and Normals have a fulltime responsibility staying isolated from others problems.

This paradigm implies that Normals know the proper way to live, which creates the blueprint of what Givers are helping Takers to achieve. The problem is, Normals are creating artificial bubble or reality for themselves, and the problems they push out of their bubble need to go somewhere. The true reality is that people from all three groups are interconnected with everyone’s decisions impacting everyone else. The result is that For-Profits dump the problems they create on Non-Profits to solve.

I think we need a new paradigm that challenges all companies and people to be stewards of the world. Instead of creating bubbles and forcing created problems outside of it, we all need to work to understand the consequences of our desires. Instead of just acting for immediate gratification, we need to work, as individuals and companies, to understand what’s best for the population as a whole. We need to look beyond money to see the true impact our decisions have on people’s lives. We need to believe we can do better as individuals and communities and create the time to figure it out.

There are many people already working on these problems. Global warming, organic farming, and sweatshops are some of the challenges we’re working to overcome together. I’m writing about this here because Vipassana has created a belief in me that everyone has a peaceful loving person inside of them, which gives me confidence that we can learn to care for and believe in each other so we can work together. I don’t know how we get from here to there. Do you have any ideas? Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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