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Louis Garcia: On Dan Pallotta and new thinking in non-profits

pallotta_headshotIt started with a simple, “Thank you”.

It always makes me smile when I meet someone who contributes to the local United Way campaign. I wanted to share my smile, and thank the woman scanning my groceries that I appreciated that she participates in the United Way annual campaign, and that I’m delighted she believes in improving the quality of life in Tallahassee. Unfortunately, the “Thank you” went unnoticed, and she passionately grunted that, “It is too bad the CEOs take too much money for their salaries”. That set me off. . . as usual.

This type of thinking has also inspired a nationwide movement led by a brilliant man named Dan Pallotta, and his book, “Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential”. Dan Pallotta spoke in Tallahassee recently on September 10, to a packed Goodwood Manor Carriage House crowd. His message was well-received by a diverse audience of social profit leaders, entrepreneurs, university faculty, college presidents and other smart Tallahassee professionals.

I hope Dan’s message sparks dialogue and debate throughout all business and educational circles. I was inspired to not shy away from a healthy debate in the grocery store line as way to educate others in the vicinity about the fallacy of thinking that a CEO in the human services industry shouldn’t be rewarded for his or her talents. It’s absurd to force talented leaders to have to choose between doing well v. doing good. The CEO of a large business in Tallahassee, overseeing over $7M in donations such as the United Way of the Big Bend, very well should be compensated for management of this large organization. Wouldn’t YOU want the most talented person managing the funds and the campaign that invests millions of dollars in improving the quality of life in Tallahassee?

As a community we need to recruit, retain, and support the most talented leaders to manage public and donated dollars with maximized benefit and impact. There shouldn’t have to be an expectation of personal sacrifice to want to advance the social profit and quality of life of where we live. We have BIG dreams to make positive change in people’s lives. We are inspiring. We are smart. We create thousands of jobs. Stop telling us, “you don’t deserve to be paid what you’re worth”, you should sacrifice to help others, or you shouldn’t hire the most talented people to advance our quality of life. That’s irresponsible and bad business.


Louis Garcia, CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend

Dan Pallotta visits Tallahassee

nonprofitable 700We’re delighted to have been involved in Dan Pallotta’s visit to Tallahassee today for the event non-profitABLE: An Evening with Dan Pallotta. We’ll use this page to gather posts and discussion on what we learned and what the next steps are.