tv Robert Egger on Leadership CSPAN December 26, 2014 3:25am-4:14am EST
inryone who is involved making this evening happen. from the architects team to the forest service, to the people of minnesota and to the thousands thetudents who made decorations, all this, this tree the christmas spirit. season our dome is in a of restoration, we are here to own. one of our this scene was much hum bloomberg that first christmas, group much she hers keeping watch on a quiet night. but it is to these simple men a the angel suddenly appears, unto you is born this day the city of david a savior, which is christ the lord. the shepherds don't just rejoice at this gift, they go and catch a glimpse of it for themselves. now go to bethlehem, they say, andne another and see what has come to pass.
once they get there, they share ther good tidings with world. that's what makes christmas so magical. to rediscover for ourselves the glory of god's love, to see with fresh eyes the beauty of simple things and traditions and to rekindle the peace and good will to all, just as the lights on the tree shine together to overcome the darkness. so on behalf of my family and people's house, i wish a happy christmas to all of you all a good night. we've now reached that moment been waitingll for, that is to go back inside. ( laughter ) help us light this tree this year we have a special guest just up the road in maryland. he and his family are here with wishelp of the make a foundation. and he'll be spending christmas in new york, so we've asked him down here to help us
>> what a magnificent tree, ladies and gentlemen. for comingeveryone, tonight to join speaker boehner, the minnesota congressional delegation, the u.s. forest service, the united states navy ceremonial band, and all of us for this year's lighting of our capitol christmas tree. merry christmas, everyone, and good night.
>> on the next "washington journal," terry jeffrey discusses what he'd like to see from the incoming 114th congress. talks aboute page .is book "washington journal" is live 7:00 eastern,at and you can join the conversation when we take your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. tonight the american renewable energy institute summit from aspen, colorado. a look. then are we to make of the sixth grit crisis before us? it most important to note that not a speeding asteroid. marching int is us this direction, in a most thing.l way to do one domesticate the plant, that's
this crisis as we speak today. what does this have to do with energy?e well, i think the extinction is a callve all else for change in our relationship the planetother and earth. why is this so, why is the extinction crisis -- clear, as's loud and all clarion calls must be. imagine that with each passing there's a celestial bell the heavensad marking the passage of yet another miracle. and it certainly clear it evidence,lear inequivocal evidence that something is amiss. sweep aul over the long billion years multicellular life, there have been five the extinctional crisis that we are in today.
not evidence that something is amiss, then i don't means.at amiss we understand the cause of the extinction crisis, it's human habitat degradation, habitat loss, habitat moddity species,n, invasive overexploitation and over the last few decades climate change. join scientists and activists at the american renewable energy institute aspen, colorado as they discuss the latest trend in energy technology, climate change, consumerism and other issues, that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. q and a, "washington post" fact checker columnist on biggest pinocchios of 2014 awards, given to politicians and political groups he believes made the biggest false claims this past year. moremocrats tend to get upset at them, because i think they have bought into the myth media and they
think that the media is on their side. as republicans, they firmly believe in the myth of media, so they kind of expect that they're going to oh, it's aw, reporter from the "washington post" calling, they're not going to be fair to me. i kind of think, i hope that over the last fewer years i've done enough back and forth, with equalh parties fervor that people will now come you know, gradually say, okay, you're someone we can do with.ss i know that the senate jrt pack, affiliated with harry reid, they stopped answering my midway through the campaign season, because they were not getting a fair shake from me.
at 8 eastern and pacific on c and a. next, d.c. central kitchen founder robert egger speaks at an event marking the 50th of the 1964 civil rights act. he talked about his experience a nonprofit in washington d.c. for 24 years, and said charitable organizations will be important the future as the aging population puts stress on government programs. is 50 minutes. i met robert eight, nine, 10 years ago. read his book, begging for change, you know his work weh d.c. central kitchen, call him the steve jobs the nonprofit sector, he's a pretty cool guy. to have himited
here. thinkl take us, make us differently. i encourage you to keep your questions at hand, we will pause the end for some q and a. that i'm going to turn it over to robert to lead us through the keynote and he'll be joining us later this afternoon. [applause] thanknk you, thank you, you. that is a pleasure to be back in washington d.c. may know that i asnt the last 40 years here but i have since decamped to the community of my youth, los opening upere i'm the l.a. kitchen right now. i was, we're going to get to aansition, but nothing fills hard more than walking street that you're so familiar with. daysnt the past couple of
visiting old friends, seeing old down to thegoing biggest shelter in america where payroll,1 years making just like many of you all. but at the same time also, a town that.c. is to reinspire yourself. and it's very appropriate that we're gathered today to talk about the 50th anniversary of community action, because i looked around the room when i be honest in and to with you, i look around and i don't see a lot of people who old.that when it was signed. i look around the room and even, i was 6 years old, when i'm 56 now. and i look around the room and older thanew people i am, but for many of us inspired that era that so much of our work, and the leaders of that era who walls ofs decorate the our offices, were things that of our youth.
they were things that basically our olderarents and brother and sisters active. and i looked on as a young man and that'sinterest, one of the reasons i love coming back to d.c. because i don't want to get too of myself, but one of my favorite things here is robert kennedy's grave. article on the cemetery. i've often found myself walking bridge to goal over and visit. is ase as i said, d.c. town full of things that inspire. living inoung man upthern california, i woke one morning, my father gave me the news that robert kennedy had passed. and as many of you know, this was just two months after murdered murdered in memphis, tennessee. that was a real hard year in america, as tough as times are now, for our parents and our that summer must
have seemed like america was right on the edge. it was give or take. but what inspires me about robert kennedy's grave ask what todaygoing to talk about is after his brother was kennedyated, robert went into a deep depression, can't get out of bed kind of depression, dark, dark place. and he slowly reinvented himself. many ofrt kennedy that us remember was a very different man than the robert kennedy who helped run his brother's campaign and climbed up the ladder in washington d.c. a many he was somewhat of ruthless man, he was definitely the man would you have to deal with hisou messed brother. john kennedy like many c.e.o.s in the room got to be the nice leader, while the development director and the c.o.o. had to heavy lifting every day. but i watched as a young man and very enamored of robert kennedy, but as many much you journey, in his
resurrect shun he went to cape town, samp ka and spoke at the university there. i urge you younger men and women in the audience and frankly anybody, the glory of the to soet is you can listen many amazing speeches, and that is one the best speeches you hear.ver but it's at that speech and the walls of his graves that are speak tords that still me, which is that every time a person stands up against they send oh for the a very small ripple of hope and and from all those different energy sources those ripples can create waves that will work down the mightiest walls of oppression. that still remind me of what i did.at i i came from southern california here really all i wanted to do open a night club. i have told this story too many times. but i want to be real clear here. this is really important because as a young man, and many of us were inspired by
those men and those women in the really risked things. and it's a subject i think we should really talk about not today, but in the weeks and months aweigheds risk. because we've come to a point in the nonprofit sectors cross roads where we have to truly understand that the people we admire, the people we point to, the people who we honor, they risked, you know, they weren't risking a grant. risking paycheck, way were risking jail, they were they wererebombs, risking police dogs, you know, that's risk. and wild i always advocate for calculated risk, and i think the nonprofit sector to be much more daring, i be belligerent. ashave external as well
internal sector. lefts a young man i california and i witnessed something astuck with me to this was my parents and their friends argued about politics. american divided today, america has always been divided and it always been a struggle. my parents argued all the time about the politics of the day. end of the summer of '68, my parents in a party. i watched people, my father a most owe mo town and everybody got on the dance floor. call me crazy, but the lyrics to this song are pretty much saying exact same thing that robert kennedy and dr. king were saying got them killed, but people accepted them as internet. about opening a night club, that's what i wanted the power ofovered
music. onas lucky enough to be oprah. oprah is a each preacher, she soul.her if she was a reverend people would find an excuse not to watch it. disguised her -- as entertainment. openve people an excuse to up and hear things that might say i don't want to talk about that. people in america are people.kind, generous we've seen putting buckets of ice on hear they'd to raise a.l.s.or people give almost 3 billion to charity. the millennials, the most diverse generation in this raised, they've been doing service. collectively, 100 million
people have. so it's not for money, time or faith. people as kind as they are want to hold on tight to stereotypes. think that if you're poor it's your fault. if you're in prison you must to deserveomething it. if you're hungry you're just lazy, that's because to let go of that stereotype means they might have to think differently role.their i'm not in the nonprofit business, i'm in the bravery business. our job is to make people brave to let give these old ideas that hold us back. and as challenging as it may be to march forward into something much us whofor many came up in that era, you know, when iing they taught me went to church on sunday and everybody they taught me in be -- class seemed to this was the new country that things, and you ran
for office if you thought you could change things. meant toat i felt it be an american, that's a you on.ney i've been i went out one night and i theogize, because i tell story too often. but i went out right by the state department in wowed on seven peopleue to that were poor. there's always been people on but this was becoming something too big to ignore, men, women and sometimes families sleeping on the streets of our capitol. i'm robert, i'm a recovering hypocrite. give me a night club and i'll world, yet when somebody said grats great, do to go out and feed your neighbors? but i wasind, decent, afraid. i ended up going out on this happened two things that changed my life to. make krvetion i asked where did the and found that it
had been purchased from the safe way in georgetown, which is still one the most expensive stores on the planet. and our restaurant industry, the industry i had green up in, because of you want to put on front, you better now how to run the back of the house. so i knew how much food we wasted every night, and not just restaurants,but motel. and before we go any further, women thank the men and who served us our lynch today. [applause] but i knew how much food was being thrown, but more importantly, i pulled up on a night and commenced to feeding men and women who had lined up, as they had night night. i realize i was the one being served, that i was kind of first time that
wild charity is not a bad thing, that what it had become was more about, as i like to say, the giver, not thehe liberation of the receiver. iand that was what i decided want to effect, i came back with with ae weeks later small business plan. as we talk about transitional leadership, i was just a volunteer. i was just somebody who wanted to help. who games somebody along with fresh eyes and looked at an old problem and respected solutions for process, and proposed something new. just said look, not only if you get the food from the hotels, not the only can you field more people buter food for less money, if you let go of the notion that men and women can just wait in upe for this truck to show and embrace these men and women as neighbors and bring them in and allow them
to be part of the solution and you start a little cooking you can shorten the pay the restaurants with entry level people who show up ready to work. this is something that has stuck with me ever since then. because every single person i went to, every nonprofit i approached with this idea told me it would not work. and they came up with every excuse you can imagine. bad people, these were very decent, kind people. were so ennt is they trenched and they had so much system as itthe existed that they were unwilling to see a new community. to the point where someone challenged me, with love person, heart, decent but he said robert you mean tol, you'd you're naive think you can tray men and women who are homeless to work in
restaurants. restaurants would be hire those. i said you never worked in a but the point is you get my point. people were so resistant to sewge, they were willing to fellow humans as unable to rise that really stuck with me. wheny, nobody wakes up they're 20 and looks in the mirror and says when i grow up i and to lead a nonprofit stifle innovation. nobody wakes up and says man, i a boring old bureaucrat who just says no to everything. ( laughter ) we know, and we see too many much our brothers and sisters trapped.me and they're not bad. i always say this is just a toural process that you have really resist. that's what we're here to talk about today. stay true to the dreams much your youth. that's the thing i look at.
had an image of to be andman i wanted i still to this die look into mirror, and say how can i continue to work towards being the man i wanted to be when i was 12 years old. i looked out at the leaders murdered.g at the d.c. central kitchen i highest paid employee, i was the founder. i was the president. didn't, my sense of highway was was not derived from my paycheck. my sense leadership and the reasons people followed me was the biggesti got check. that notion that that's what leadership looks like, i've and more intrigued by the way we view leadership, honest, i be brewly have watched as leaders the
changed frome being white men to people of color and women. mimico often people still the same behaviors as the people they replaced because that's we've all come to see that leadership looks like. so no matter how many different --ors, shades this is very critical to our discussion right now. because one of the reasons i left d.c., a, i come from the keith richard school, times it's better to walk before they make you run. and it was very important talked a lot about leadership and like many in the sector i had worked and we had almost 100 classes of men and women go through the d.c. central kitchen. over 1,000 people had gone through the program. overher we had created 30 million meals. consistently --
you must leave behind ideas and habit that didn't serve you well. do the often we would same things. we would tell people on the panhandle anyn't more. so part of me wanted to say if going to talk this, you gotta walk this. in was time for on the to let another person take over. as i like to call it amateur futurist. event just like this many years ago and i met somebody here and which were walking -- -- talking about what do you do. fewist. says it's probability, trends. and i realized, i'm a futurist too, because that's very much what i do. when i started the kitchen, the menace was
heroin, then an alcohol town, womename crack, then came with welfare change, what i realized is i couldn't one program trying to fit into my begram, my program had to adapted to meet the changing needs of who ever society put at bottom. who is at the bottom and how can up, that'se people always been my thing. to see thearting future coming to you, when i was a young man i played a little c minor baseball. and i was probably 8 years old in southern california. game i'middle of the playing third base, the coach says what are you going to do if ball comes to you? i never thought about it. he said if you look around, there's a man on second, there's a man on first, if you've got your act together and your team playing together, you got a
triple play just waiting for you. boom, touchedked, the baition, throw the ball, triple play and they carry me off the thing. coach said always be ready when the ball comes to you. are i discovered is there three kinds of leaders, peep who just have their they'd down payroll, ande that's understandable. so i respect that. second group of people just they can -- too many put their height right back down, that's understandable. there's a third kind of leader ones who saythe i'm not going to wait for it, i'm going to march out to meet what i discovered game, canbaseball city through the wall or, i hypnotist.
i make the bull come to me. i'm out there in southern california the food business, how many of you do pantries or work with bank?ood think about this. movement was birthed at a time in which america was going through an era of extra. and world war ii, we fed the world and rerebuilt the world. base was spleelt intact of farm land, the miracle the central valley, produced a you torplus that allowed get a lemon, lime or tomato in darkest world. the nonprofited sector to gr because we get the extra. we get the extra money. we get the extra buildings, we people's extra clothes, we get people's extra time. andthat extra was abun dab allowed us to grow. but that era of extra is ending.
the pantries all get that i get, at the end of the day that is lost profit. that, theyht couldn't sell it, they give to it charity. cool, but they are trying to figure out how to not have any extra. coming. so what you're having is less food coming in. i move to california only i got an unlimited supply of fresh fruits and vegetables that i can get for nothing and the that's a powerful tool. but this is very important for us to talk about. every single morning in america, an asteroid hitting the earth, 10,000 people wake up 67 years old. and that's going to go on for the next 23 years, every single baby boomers are coming. and this is profound. i i'm billion the business around knowing that the next poor people in america will be our elders. they already are, we just don't
them.ch attention to the way we treat our elders in america is one of our greatest shapes, because we have a throw society. there now isn out that humble generation, they don't want charity no matter how are,.hey get ready because here come the baby boomers and they are not going to be shy about wanting what is their right. get this, this is really now allt, because right workers, of all workers in america, between 45 and 65 right now, half do not have $10,000 put aside for their retirement. this is an epic wave of older people. now there were those who would thing, in factad many people use the term the silver tsunami, as a term of fear. but i go back to that robert kennedy line about every time smalldy get forth a ripple they can create waves that can wash down the mightiest
walls of oppression. imagine if we in the nonprofit sector reach out to those older backcans and call them home. that silver tsunami can actually be the realization of robert kennedy's dream. it's a powerful opportunity, mistake it's a wonder you can't put your head out in the morning and hear a look in10,000 people the mirror and see a 67-year-old right back. and thinking how did i get so lost. have seen with my dr. king. says are chavez, shirley jackson. john lennon or marvin gay. i could have thought i'd i just got more stuff be more happy. usethere are people saying me, this is the deepest well of life experience in the history
america. no other generation has been thisrich, this free, and educated. shame on us, and shame on us as second shore if we don't say instead of waiting for them to ando us we need to go out bring them in, because this is a powerful opportunity. you've got 100 people under 30. to reiterate, the biggest general nergs the history of america, the most diverse generation in the mystery of america will soon be the most en mostated and the technologically these are minimum and raised doing service, and make no mistake, the generation that got barack obama not once, but twice -- every single election, you're getting 16 million to 20 million new voters. people who still believe in the american dream.
interesting as it may sound or as far-fetched, i believe that there is a surprising shared interest between those who are old and those who are young. and that amazing opportunity, this is what is really important. oftentimes we think leadership looks this way. organizations run this way. but if you look at history, look at the history of our movement, you realize it was two groups that people thought would not find common ground found common ground and in together. we sometimes look at the united farm workers and think, that was cesar chavez. it was not just cesar chavez. it was the filipino workers that went on strike and cesar chavez was brilliant and saw an opportunity to make peace. years ago i went to india. i read a little history book that said the british never, ever, ever in all of their years of control of india ever had more than 3000 officers stationed on the ground. never. i will be honest with you. was mesmerized by that.
and i needed a little break from d.c., so i took a little sabbatical. i allowed myself a full month to go over there and study and figure, how did 3000 do does -- dudes control through to million people. in less than 24 hours i had the answer. i almost laughed outdoor. as long as the british could give the indians fighting one another, it was a piece of cake. and i left out loud. i realize that was the nonprofit sector in america. eight versus art. it is all -- we have the keys. that is the thing i really want o reiterate. but what is important again, there would be those right now who want to divide our generations, who would want to pick old against young. tragically you see old people being manipulated with fear. to be quite honest with you, man, the oldest people should be crazy in love with new immigrants. somebody needs to come in here and start paying taxes so they can sit back and get their social security.
bradley, old people should be out front saying, let them in! the right to work. we have jobs right here. seriously. but let's take one more thing before i break up. i tend to free associate. in fact, it is funny, man. one of the things that really turns me on most to change was the fact in 1959 miles davis came along and released the album "kind of blue." up until then charlie parker was the preeminent usage and, -- musician, but he was limited to 12 are blues. miles came along and said, i reject 12-bar blues. i came along in los angeles and i am developing new meals for seniors. it is in effect the same plate you see in schools, and hospitals, in prisons, in any institution that says this is where the big piece of meat goes and everything circles
around the solar system, but meat is the son. as a society with this many people he will need help, we can't afford a big piece of meat, nor is it sustainable or healthy. so i am just coming along saying similarly, i reject the plate, the tyranny of the plate. i am inventing a little tiny bento box. i will serve three ounces of protein, but i reject the notion that it has to look like this. i can give people ethnically diverse, beautiful, artistic meals for less money. i can hire people. the goal is to help young women and men aging out of foster care that are statistically on their way to prison or the street. and older people coming out who statistically will make a u-turn and go right back because there are no jobs for them. you know what -- i was you.
i see myself. i just got back after 20 years and i am not going to let you go down that same road. an older man or woman can help the young reactor may to change. can they learn with and from each other as they prepare meals for the immunity? i have always said, let's remove the false divide of the table that has volunteers serving the poor, and let's bring everybody to the same side of the table. one of the greatest pleasures is saying presidents of the united states come in and work side-by-side with men in women in the jobs training program. and inevitably -- no matter how smart -- god bless bill clinton. one of the smartest men. nobody loves a kitchen more than bill clinton. but i have to tell you, the man did not know how to cut a caret. and the power of someone in prison saying, no, sir, you do it this way.
that is the problem -- that is the power of what we can show. everyone has something to contribute. no matter how old, how young. everybody has something to contribute to the great american story. but i think one of the most important places we are going to begin to reframe that, and when you start to look at that next set -- how do you revitalize immunity action. -- community action. do not forget our charter. you all were the very first on the war on poverty. again, this is no disrespect, because the reality is -- unlike the british in india, the way we get our money, the fact that we cannot being gazed in the political process puts us in a position where it is virtually impossible for us to solve the problems we have been tasked with. but the point is, if we continue to accept the
structure -- this is how nonprofits behave, here is how you get your money, here is how you are led, or is how you can speak, then the next 50 years and not going to make them as difference. flowers will bloom in every community, but the garden we sought to plants in 1950 when president johnson signed the fact will remain just as -- signed this act will remain just as elusive. while we deserve much credit for the work we have done, the road ahead cannot be the same oad. it is the same journey, but we have to take a very different course and i think many of us can learn from some of the younger men and women humming to our sector. we are reaching a point -- because of low administrative overhead as the intellectual albatross around our neck -- overhead is things like retirement plans for our executives. what you have is a sector with too many leaders who cannot afford to leave their jobs. as much as we talk about people retiring, in many, many communities, you have people
who do not have any money set aside. the question for them is, i may not be of the lead, but do i sought to govern the organization the same way i did? can i open up and let younger members of my organization to exert their sense of leadership, their direct and, their new ideas? that has been a big part of my personal journey. i do not know how many of you do this. i just went through a review by my staff, our staff. and it was anonymous. and it was hard. i am like, hey, i am better than that. i mean, that is cold. i can't believe you would treat me this way. i am signing your paychecks and that is the best you can say about me? but again, i don't want to think that way, but that is the point. how many of you let your staff evaluate you anonymously echo and how many of you have the courage to really listen to what they say? this is the biggest discussion we're going to happen our
sector right now. how are we going to do away with the old way of having one person make the decision and how do we spread it out? what is going to be exciting for many of you is you people come and just as i did, as a volunteer, with fresh eyes and say, the way we have been measuring success is not the only way we can. there are three or four new metrics you may be able to use. we were just out in california with the california association of nonprofits that just did a tremendous report on the impact of nonprofits in that state. the one nugget i have been praying -- praying is too hard a word. i have been hoping for. how much money the nonprofits of california bring from outside the state in. that is the first time, to my knowledge, any group has done that. what they clocked in at, $40 billion a year. let's be honest. if i am a rural marion georgia, in montana -- if i am a rural mayor in georgia, montana, and someone says, these nonprofits can bring in a lot of
money. a staff of three people brought in $70 million over five years. he into the city. man, we are the ace in the deck that most politicians do not even know they have got. we have to help the men and women who run for office realize we are steady partners. we are far from charity. we are major parts of every economy. i really want you to let this sink in. this is economics 101. there is no profit in america without nonprofits in america. you try to run the town -- seriously, you try to run the town, let alone attract new business. it young and dashing young men and women to stay if you have arts and culture, if you don't have health care, if you don't have education, if you don't have clean air and water. that is what we do. you can't make money without us.
we need to on that fact that we are not the young brothers and sisters of the.com world. we are equal to business. no recovery plan will work without us in the mix. it is time for us -- -- there you go. if i may be so bold, and to close, this is the kind of transitional thinking i urge you to be open to as leaders. believe me. i do not want to discount the minute women of generation x who have been toiling in the field, waiting for their time. there are so many people with really bold ideas. we have to turn them loose. a lot of our conversation today will be around those ideas. how do we get our voices heard. and how do we learn to the spec not only the people of the organization, but the olunteers.
we should open up and say to anybody who comes through our door, if you have a better idea how we can make our own money, how we can be engaged, how we can spread better word about what we do, let us know, we are all years. because we are community action and we are here tuesday. thank you all very, very uch. >> if there are any questions, we do have a microphone. we will take one or two, given the time. don't give me this quiet stuff. there is a microphone right there. >> and you can just shout it out. >> what if you got? need some caffeine or something? >> if you would, could you give advice to middle leadership to help -- let's say current, seasoned leadership help understand that opening up is not threatening their
leadership or their legacy. how would you frame that advice question mark >> -- how would you frame that advice? >> wow. thank you for that question. this is the core of what we are at. his is human nature. what we are talking about is ruffling that sense of i'm good ight here. you know, this sounds lofty, but i think most people -- when i go back to most of those men and women looked in the mirror and they wanted to change the world. very peak -- very few people got in this business because they thought they were going to get rich. they wanted to be part of the american dream. we are the american dream. make no mistake. what we do -- we represent the best of america. we make the best profit and america.
i think trying to challenge people to be that leader they wanted to be. this is why i really push for the idea of a can be tough, but that idea of staff evaluation. i frankly think everyone in this room ought to consider going back. it is hard, but guaranteed your staff will respect you more if you ask for their honest evaluation. you know who we should be studying right now? that the eo of that grocery store in massachusetts who, they fired him and all the employees walked out. and all of the delivery people refused to deliver. the customers refuse to comment. that guy should write a book and go to every conference. who does not want to be that kind of leader? if the board says, your time has come. many of us would go, well, that as nice while it lasted. have fun. and frankly, probably thinking, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. > thank you.
>> my pleasure. >> >> one of the things he said that really resonated with me was your trip to india where you saw how they kept people divided and really wanting to move beyond the circumstances. my question to you is -- and palm beach county, we see that love of division amongst a lot of nonprofits. everybody is competing for resources and sometimes it doesn't create the kind of environment where people are working together and working collectively toward common goals. my question is, what would be your strategy for dressing those kinds of issues and have you seen any communities where they have kind of found the answer and are working together.