September 15, 2004

Bill Shore Describes Simple Acts to Fight Poverty

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The simple act of listening to one lecture could change the way you look at life. Yesterday, Bill Shore’s lecture on his recent book “The Light of Conscience: How a Simple Act Can Change Your Life” arguably did just that to many students, faculty members and others.

Shore, the founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, spoke on how he founded the organization with only a $2000 credit card limit and sheer will to make it into one of today’s leading anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations in the nation.

Share Our Strength is a non-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing individuals and groups to fight hunger and poverty. Through business partnerships and other ventures, Share Our Strength has become a “funder of anti-poverty activity,” according to Shore. Throughout the lecture, he described various ideas to raise money, such as asking writers around the country to contribute to an anthology to fund such activity.

“In the non-profit sector, you must pay as you go — nothing big gets done that way,” Shore said. “The people of the non-profit sector are more innovative, and are closer to the people we help than the government can be. But a good idea created by the non-profit sector needs to be scaled up and funded by the government in order to be successfully implemented,” he added.

Maryann Lapinski, executive director of Learning Web, attended the lecture. Learning Web is a non-profit organization that assists homeless and transient youth by helping them to find career and entrepreneurship programs, and is funded by Share Our Strength.

Lapinski said, “Without these funds, we would be unable to provide homeless adults with such opportunities and workplace experience. It is wonderful that any group of local volunteers, with their strengths, expertise and passions can simultaneously help people at the other end of the spectrum.”

Jill Iscol of the Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development in Public Service, which sponsored this lecture, said afterward, “I’m a funder of this program [this lecture series] and this lecture inspires me to say to Cornell: we must step up the research opportunities with not-for-profit organizations such as Share Our Strength.”

Speaking briefly on his first book, “The Cathedral Within”, Shore said, “The builders of cathedrals [in Europe] knew they couldn’t see the completion of these cathedrals in their lifetimes, but they knew they were part of something larger. It may not come today, and it may not come tomorrow, but it is the right thing to do. “

“Bill Shore has changed the nature of our conversation about hunger and poverty around the world,” said Prof. Ritch Savin-Williams, human development.

Lisa Staiano-Coico, Ph.D., the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology, introduced Shore yesterday. Staiano-Coico said on the lecture, “I was inspired by it. Listen to your own heart! Don’t ignore or dampen it. It is amazing to me that a germ of an idea could do so much.”

“The lecture really changed my perspective on the non-profit sector,” said Calvin Selth ’07. “There seems to be a lot of space and opportunities. It is exciting and certainly impacts what I want to do in life.”

“It was an incredible turnout,” said Savin-Williams. “That presents a different image of Cornell. It’s clear that a large number of people here today want to make a difference and that is really uplifting.”

Archived article by Julie Geng
Sun Contributor