A few months ago, I had the chance to attend the “Experience Hendrix” show in Denver. This is a nationwide tour, managed by Experience Hendrix LLC under the leadership of President and CEO Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s sister. The tour includes some of today’s top blues and rock guitarists and is designed to share the music and legacy of Jimi with the world and to keep his memory alive.
As I sat there that night it was awesome to see so many different people there for the same reason. Black, white – young and old. There were people who were clearly right out of 1968, and there were twenty-something “millennials.” I was really impressed by the guy in front of me who had his young son there, who was approximately 10 years old. I appreciated that he wanted to ensure that his son has a good music education. They left early though, as it was a school night.
I had come directly from work, and fought Denver rush-hour traffic to get there. The timing was not great, as I had a project that I was working on and it had me somewhat distracted. About halfway through the show, a guy by the name of Zac Wylde was performing and a “light bulb” went on for me. Impact. All of us who lead and work in nonprofit organizations are looking to create impact in our respective communities. It occurred to me right then that I was witnessing “impact.”
Jimi Hendrix left a legacy for generations to come. Although he has been gone for nearly 50 years, he still has the ability to bring people together to celebrate his life and contribution to the world. In fact, he had a new album come out as recently as 2013. At the EPMC Foundation, a big part of what we seek to do is give people the opportunity to have impact. By joining our Legacy Society and making an estate gift, our donors have the ability to make sure people have access to quality healthcare for decades to come.
We must all consider how we are making an impact on the world. It is easy to get caught up dealing with today, or tomorrow, but what about the future? How will the world be different as a result of your having been here? That night I also thought about the fact that all impact is not positive. Think about it, there are people whom we all know and remember, but for negative reasons. Bernie Madoff. John Wayne Gacy. Adolf Hitler. We want to have impact in our organizations, but it must be the right kind of impact. We don’t want to be the person who presided over the demise of key programs or the endowment fund. The strategic decisions that we make today will have a direct bearing on the future and success of our organizations. That is a big responsibility, and one that we must consider each day. There is a new generation of young people who will follow after us and be directly affected by our work.
My son, Kevin Jr, will be entering college this year at Western Washington University. As he prepares for a career in philanthropy, he is full of questions. He and so many others like him want to make a difference, but look to us for guidance, mentoring, and direction. In a sense, they are a part of our impact and our legacy.
What are you going to do this week to leave a legacy? I doubt that Jimi Hendrix expected to have such an impact on the world decades after his life. How many of us, at age 27, knew that we were going to change the world? Imagine what you and I can do when we approach our future intentionally and with an eye toward the future. The sky is the limit. Our impact will be infinite.
Have a great weekend,