When Doors are Closed Keep the Faith

Late last year I filed the paperwork to officially create GAATES, Inc., a nonprofit organization with a mission to “help ex-offenders through personal development, career readiness, and success strategies.” I joined forces with five other like-minded go-getters (including two pastors, a peace officer, an educator, and a business leader). While not a faith-based organization, we created the organization in faith.

We applied for and received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS! My faith was strong at that point, to be sure! Everything was a go and we were going to hold a big event to raise money to launch the nonprofit in a big way.

We were ready to go, that is, until I was told by my employer that what I wanted to do with my nonprofit was too similar to what they were already paying other organizations to do and it could be perceived as a conflict of interest. That created a situation where I could be considered in violation of my employer’s (overly vague, in my opinion) policy. So, in short, I inferred that I could not help ex-offenders through my nonprofit as long as I was employed by an agency that paid entities to help offenders and ex-offenders.

My faith was a bit shaken but still strong. My vision was a powerful one and I knew it would come to pass. But in the here and now, I had a choice to make.

I could:

  1. Push forward and risk being disciplined, up to and including the possibility of being terminated (thus losing 20 years of work toward my retirement)
  2. Quit my job (losing much of said retirement contributions); or
  3. Put the nonprofit on hold until I left my current employ (i.e., retired).

The first and second options didn’t seem prudent, so I opted for number three. I also lost four of my founding directors in the process. (Some people are very nervous about potential legal threats.)

Was I upset? No. Disappointed, yes, but not really upset. My vision for what I’m going to do with my nonprofit organization is too big to be threatened by this. This is just a bump in the road. I have faith that what God has put in my heart will come to pass, exactly as it’s supposed to. When doors — or in this case GAATES — seem to be shut tight, trust that He will open another one, exactly where and when it’s supposed to open.

So for the time being, I continue to give 100% at work and I continue to keep my eye on the big picture. That’s something we all should do.

Here’s to your success.


Originally published on JoinMeForSuccess.com





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