A Potomac Way of Giving Back

Paying it Forward

My wife Debbie and I are blessed to live in the Potomac area. We love the beautiful idyllic environment, our neighbors, and the sense of community it provides for us and the thousands who live here.

In this month of Thanksgiving, we recognize that there are some here and many across the country and around the world who do not have the advantages we enjoy. Because of this, we who have more should give back. It is the Potomac way to pay it forward. Paying it forward reminds us of those who supported us along our journey and invites us to do the same for others.


We can achieve meaningful giving by practicing purposeful philanthropy, or making investments directed at making an impact on pivot point areas that matter to the future of society. The returns on those investments are changes to problematic conditions and/or the support of individuals who will become change agents to address these issues.


The pivot point areas for purposeful philanthropy are virtually endless. My personal priority areas are education, arts, world peace and civic engagement, which I have chosen because they are important to me and because I know that improvement in them can make a meaningful and substantial difference.


I have made substantial investments in all of the listed areas below. As one example, I served on the board of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and supported programs to expose youth to the arts.

  • Education is a bridge and opportunity creator. It helps move people up the ladder and others to climb the ladder with them.
Art connects and inspires citizens and communities. It has a unifying and healing power.
  • World peace is more important than ever in these increasingly turbulent times. It is essential for the future of this planet.
  • Civic engagement is at the heart of a healthy democracy. Today, democracy is
descending and autocracy is ascending around the world.

I cite my investments for illustrative purposes only. Each of us must choose the areas that resonate with us most deeply. The essential part is that you make the choice and invest. The size of that investment isn’t what counts and it need not be just financial. It can also include giving time, talent and ideas or volunteering.

In his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” In this month of Thanksgiving, we in Potomac – which is one of the wealthiest areas in America – should ask ourselves that question. Based on our answer, we should get involved so that we can make a difference now and in the future."

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