Letter From the Publisher: The Gift of Giving

By Lou – December 30, 2011

You have all heard that there are more nonprofit organizations in Austin per capita than any other city in the U.S.  That would certainly suggest that our fair city is a nexus for charity and philanthropy.   True or not, I can tell you that my personal experience in meeting some of the folks featured in our December philanthropy issue was both inspiring and heartrending and would support that assumption.  I was blown away by the humility of John Paul and Eloise DeJoria and their gracious and caring approach to those less fortunate.  Their foundation, Peace, Love & Happiness, says it all.

JP, like many successful entrepreneurs, knows what it is like to struggle and he used his tough life lessons to build a successful business empire.  But he has never forgotten those hard times or what it takes to sustain his success.  I was especially impressed with his approach, which not only provides support and assistance, but also focuses on teaching folks how to sustain themselves over time.  JP and Eloise are not just check writers.  They believe that the most charitable actions are those in which people personally engage with those they help.  They make it a point to “walk the talk,” setting an incredible standard of philanthropy.

I was also fortunate to visit recently with a business colleague of mine from 30 years past who brought me and my team close to tears.  Lt. Gen. Leroy Sisco, USA (Ret.) started a foundation to give homes to injured veterans.  You heard me right; he gives homes away for free and, like JP, he teaches his beneficiaries how to sustain those homes and make the gift work over the long term.  When you hear the words and feel the raw emotion of these heroes as they tell you what it means to them and their families to realize the “American Dream” of owning their own home, there are no dry eyes in the house.  In their words, “it gives them hope” and you can’t put a value on that!

These are just two of the great stories that we bring you during this month of giving.  Please check out the rest.  They are all wonderful examples of what giving and caring are all about. It is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

For us at AFM, fitness is more than just physical.  Helping others to be fit, to have peace, love, and happiness is a mission we enthusiastically support.  On behalf of our team, I  want to thank all of those who give their time and resources in the service of the less fortunate and wish everyone a wonderful holiday and a healthy and fit new year.

Keep Austin Fit,

Lou Earle


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