Building Community, Locally and Globally

Back in 1997, when Cylina and I started our small painting business we chose the Finnish word “Sisu” as our name. I had often heard my father use that word to describe the qualities of strength and determination, courage and tenacity, and a kind of stubborn determination.  If you’ve got Sisu, you’ve got guts.

Over the years, through set-backs and growth phases alike, we have been reminded of the importance of those qualities.  As our little company has grown from the two of us to a team of 16, and I think we’ve done a reasonably good job exhibiting strong values in our work and in our local community, but lately we’ve been thinking it’s time to take a broader view.

We decided to expand our vision and to connect with a broader community in a different way.

After reading some alarming statistics on world poverty, we learned that a huge percentage of the world’s population is starving… not just hungry or poor, but literally starving to death.

People are starving… so why isn’t everybody talking about it?

The truth is, like most people who live in comfortable homes in suburban settings, I was spending most of my time thinking about my own needs and obligations, rarely considering the bigger picture of my global community. I probably wasn’t thinking much about it because, frankly, I don’t know the first thing about being hungry, cold or alone.

Choosing our charity took time, because we wanted to know that our contributions would truly make a difference for those who need it most.

We were most impressed with a humanitarian organization called Africare, the oldest and largest African-American led organization in the field.  Africare programs directly address fundamental human needs including Agriculture and Food security; Health & HIV/AIDS; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; and Emergency Humanitarian Assistance.

Best of all, Africare is known for putting the vast majority of donations directly into the hands of the people who need them, rather than toward administrative costs.  We like knowing our financial contribution is making a difference for real people who are part of our larger community.

Thanks to you, our friends and clients, for making our success possible so that we can make a contribution, and a difference, for our brothers and sisters across the world.

I invite you to read more about Africare at their website and, while you’re there, I hope you’ll consider making a donation to this worthy cause.

In the spirit of Sisu,


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