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.
- Push forward and risk being disciplined, up to and including the possibility of being terminated (thus losing 20 years of work toward my retirement)
- Quit my job (losing much of said retirement contributions); or
- 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