Dan Price is the go-to example for business done right. No doubt you’ve heard of the CEO made famous by going against the corporate grain, giving every employee a base annual salary of $70K, which—despite criticism—led to soaring profits (six years and counting).
So it’s probably no surprise that on Giving Tuesday, the business owner with a compassionate vision once again chose people over profit. Doesn’t make the idea any less genius though.
The Gravity Payments CEO announced on Twitter that every employee receives $500 dollars a year to donate to the nonprofit of their choice. With at least 200 employees, that is no small sum. But then again, Dan Price has made a name for himself pairing ambition with altruism.
We give every employee $500 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice every year.— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) November 30, 2021
Our employees are collectively way smarter than I ever could be as CEO. So instead of making top-down decisions on how to spend our money, we try to make bottom-up decisions.#GivingTuesday
His tweet also read:
“Our employees are collectively way smarter than I ever could be as CEO. So instead of making top-down decisions on how to spend our money, we try to make bottom-up decisions.”
Price came to the base wage of $70K idea after an agitated worker told him that entry-level salary was, to put it bluntly, a rip-off. After realizing that the employee was right, Price was inspired to make a change for good, literally. To make this happen, he would have to slash his nearly million dollar annual income by 90%.
The decision was met with heavy criticism, but how can you argue with tripled revenue and a doubled customer base? These were the reported companywide transformations posted to Twitter after only six years.
Even during the pandemic, when revenue dropped by 55%, employees were so loyal to Price that they voluntarily took pay cuts to make it through the tough time. Those employees were then paid back, even receiving raises after the company earned profits again.
Bottom line: Price continues to live by his mission to “invest in people,” and it just works.Since becoming the “CEO just trying to stand up for the underdog,” Price regularly tweets about injustices created by corporations, busting myths and making public call-outs.
Like this one, where Price pointed out that keeping stores open on Thanksgiving doesn’t actually help anyone. Least of all the workers forced to leave their families.
For the last two years, stores were closed on Thanksgiving and saw zero impact on their overall sales numbers.— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) November 29, 2021
So for decades they just forced low-wage workers to be away from their families for no reason.
And people wonder why workers are fed up.
Or when he gave some staggering numbers to show the ridiculousness of “idolizing the rich.”
One of the biggest myths of capitalism is that the rich are "job creators."— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) November 29, 2021
In the pandemic, billionaire wealth is up $2.1 trillion and the number of jobs is down 4.2 million.
The myth is so dangerous because it leads people to idolize the rich and give them whatever they want.
In regards to Price’s Giving Tuesday tweet, people were generally moved at how this empowered employees. Many people commented, “where can I apply?” Which is funny, yes, but also a testament to how (sadly) radical a move this is.
Business models that actually embody shared values are not only possible, they’re necessary. Though we are far from finishing, society has made major steps reevaluating work-life balance, living wages and fairer working conditions. This is in part because of people like Dan Price, true leaders who understand that power grows when it is shared.
Gravity Payments, Dan’s company, says on it’s website “we’re changing the way the industry operates. The world is taking notice.”
It certainly is. Hopefully the world not only takes notice, but follows the example as well.
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Amazing USO program has helped service members share over 125,000 stories with their kids while deployed
One of the biggest challenges deployed service members face is the feeling of being separated from their families, especially when they have children. It's also very stressful for children to be away from parents who are deployed for long periods of time.
For the past four years, the USO has brought deployed service members and their families closer through a wonderful program that allows them to read together. The Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program gives deployed service members the ability to choose a book, read it on camera, then send both the recording and book to their child.
Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program www.youtube.com
The program was created through a partnership between the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation and the USO. Hope was one of the most beloved comedians of his generation, and he traveled the world for over six decades, putting on USO shows to boost the morale of the nation's service members.
In 2019, families shared more than 39,000 stories through the program.
The program has been an incredible way for U.S. Army Captain Justin Meredith to connect with his young son Jayden and express himself creatively. Just before he was set to be deployed to the Middle East, he checked into the local USO center where he was introduced to the program. At first, he felt a little awkward in front of the camera but soon took a real shine to making the videos.
When he arrived, he became a regular at USO Camp Buehring in Kuwait where he'd show up every day to read a new book to his son. He began to really liven things up by adopting funny voices, wearing costumes, and using props.
"The zanier that I am on the camera and the goofier the voices, the characters, the props, the more he just really engages with it," Justin said. "My son is so engaged, and he's so happy and he lights up seeing me."
Justin's nightly readings to Jayden had a profound effect on the family by keeping them close while he was away.
Justin Meredith's son and extended family members ended each day by listening to the latest book recording in their custom-made "Just-In-Time Center" while Justin was on deployment in the Middle East.via Courtesy Photo
"It became a life-changing thing, a better way to stay connected, and it was great because while my wife [was] technically raising him [while I was deployed], I could use the books to help influence and mold and help him out with some of the initial things that he's going through," Justin said.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Ruben Pimentel is a father of three and uses the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to connect with his family while he's deployed. He loves that the recordings will live on long after he's returned from his service overseas.
"I know I'm not there, but I'm able to connect with my family. Even when I'm 60 years old, I'll be able to look back and see myself reading to my kids. It's a family heirloom," Pimentel said.
Sgt. Nick Masi reads a book to his four children while stationed in Afghanistan.via USO
The program is especially popular during the holidays. In 2019, the USO held a special event where service members read "The Night Before Christmas" in front of a festive, fake fire in a costume of their choice.
Sgt. Nick Masi, a father of four, thought the program helped him feel close to his loved ones during the holidays.
"It felt as though the reading program had transported me to be with my family, even if just for one story," he said.
The USO had to temporarily shut down in-person events in centers last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn't stop service members from keeping the tradition of reading to their families alive. Service members who are USO volunteers at USO Erbil in Iraq outfitted the back of a pickup truck with a trifold to make a "room" for them to read to their families.
A service member reads a book to his child in the back of a pickup truck. via USO Erbil
The USO team decorated their makeshift set, grabbed some books, and set up a chair.
Then, they hit the road, sharing their studio with service members on-base, stopping at popular places as well as remote areas. The USO's goal was to reach as many service members as possible.
Deployment is hard on service members and their families, but they do it so we can all enjoy peace and freedom at home. So, it's our job to keep them as happy and comfortable as possible during their times of sacrifice.
Click here to see how you can contribute to the USO and support services like the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program, which has helped over 100,000 service members and their families be together, or share a story, when they're miles apart.
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The concept of virginity is a very loaded issue in American culture. If a woman loses hers when she's too young she can be slut-shamed. If a man remains a virgin for too long, he can be bullied for not being manly enough.
There is also a whole slew of religious mind games associated with virginity that can give people some serious psychological problems associated with sex.
Losing one's virginity has also been blown up way beyond proportion. It's often believed that it's a magical experience—it's usually not. Or that after having sex for the first time people can really start to enjoy living life—not the case.
What if we just dropped all of the stigmas surrounding virginity and instead, replaced them with healthy attitudes toward sex and relationships?
Writer Cayce LaCorte is going viral on TikTok for the simple way she's taught her five daughters to think about virginity. They don't have to. LaCorte shared her parenting ideas on TikTok in response to mom-influencer Nevada Shareef's question: "Name something about the way you raised your kids that people think is weird but you think is healthy."
"I'm gonna get a lot of shit for this, but what are you gonna do?" she said in the video. "I'm raising my five daughters to believe that there is no such thing as virginity.
"It is a patriarchal concept used to control women and serves no purpose other than making women feel bad about ourselves," she explained. "Just because some guy randomly sticks his penis in you at some point in your life, it does not change your worth. It does not change who you are. It doesn't do anything other than it happened."
She also responded to those who may criticize her for encouraging promiscuity.
"Sex is important. It's a big deal; it should always be a big deal. It has nothing to do with your first time. It's just ridiculous. The whole concept is ridiculous," the video explained.
She also believes that sex shouldn't be so closely associated with one's moral character.
"I'm raising them to be good people and have solid foundations and make their own choices and make intelligent choices. Not because some book says not to," she concluded the video.
The video made a lot of people realize that virginity is so ingrained in our society that the concept is rarely questioned.
"I never really thought about this to be honest," one commenter wrote. "I will absolutely be adopting this!! Thank you for sharing."
"I have 2 girls, and I think this is how I will teach them when they are older. This would have made me feel more self worth when I was younger," Samantha wrote.
LaCorte's comments about women and virginity need to be heard. But there should also be more discussion around how men also fight the stigma associated with virginity.
There's an unwritten law that says men must lose their virginity by the age of 18 or by at least 21 or that somehow they are less of a man. For men that are virgins into their 20s, "Sex goes from being something to be enjoyed to a giant monolith of titanic proportions that casts a shadow over everything they do and who they are," dating coach Harris O'Malley writes.
Sex is a tricky issue that everyone should be able to approach in their own way, at their own time. It's great that LaCorte's video has gone viral for illustrating the fact that virginity is just another obstacle on the road to sexual maturity that shouldn't factor into whether we decide to have sex or not.
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When your final child leaves the house for good, it's like a whole new world has opened up. The decades raising babies and children are full, rich, exciting and loud. Your house is filled with laughter and sibling bickering, school projects and kid collections, never-ending laundry and food purchased in bulk. Life is big during those years. It takes up space physically, mentally and emotionally.
Then come the empty nest years, when you find yourself swimming in a house full of unused rooms and piles of memories. Suddenly you don't need all that space anymore, and you have to figure out what to do with those rooms and those piles and those memories.
For one couple, the process of downsizing brought about a reflection on their family life, their relationship with their kids and their stuff. Jimmy Dunne shared that reflection on Facebook in a viral post that's resonating with many people who are at or near this stage in life.
"My wife Catherine and I recently moved.
I realized I had something I never knew I had.
Thirty-four years ago, I carried my wife in my arms over the threshold in our home. Thirty-four years ago. From newlywed days, to witnessing our babies go from little girls to young adults. So many great memories in every inch of every room of our home.
I didn’t think I was ready to ‘downsize.’ What an awful word. I liked walking through our girl’s bedrooms and still seeing their stuff on the walls and on the shelves. I liked our backyard. I liked imagining our kids coming down the steps every Christmas morning.
We put it on the market, it sold in a couple days, and suddenly agreements thicker than my leg were instructing me to clear everything I ever had and knew – out.
Every night I found myself saying goodbye to our backyard, to our garden of roses that Catherine would till and trim, to the sidewalk where the girls drove their Barbie cars and learned to ride their bikes, to our front lawn where we hosted tons of talent shows with all the kids on the block – and the red swing on the front porch.
We found a condo in town and started lining up our ducks of what we were keeping, and what we were tossing. We vowed, if we’re going to do this, we weren’t putting anything in storage.
I literally threw out half my stuff. Half. Half of the furniture. Half of my clothes, books. And the big one… way more than half the boxes in the attic.
The attic was more than an attic. It held our stories. Every thing in every box, every framed picture was a story. After we gave away almost all of the living room furniture, we split the room in half and brought down everything of the girls from the attic and from their rooms. We invited the girls over, handed them a cocktail and said, “There’s good news and bad news. We’ve saved all this stuff; your outfits, drawings, dolls, skates -- for you. It’s now yours. The bad news, whatever’s not gone by Friday at 10 in the morning, it’s getting chucked in that giant green dumpster in front of the house.”
The girls thought we were Mr. and Mrs. Satan. But they went through it, and that Friday, most of it went out the front door and right in the dumpster.
I filled the entire dining room with boxes of all my old stuff. Grade school stories and pictures, report cards, birthday cards, trophies, you name it. Boxes of old plaques and diplomas and just stuff and stuff and stuff like that. How could I throw any of this out? I may as well have been throwing me in the dumpster!
But this little jerk on my shoulder kept asking -- what are your kids going to do with all this a week after you're six feet under? They’re gonna chuck it all out!
Here’s the crazy thing. The more I threw stuff in there, the easier it got. And I started to kind of like throwing it up and over in that thing. I started to feel lighter. Better.
And we moved in a half-the-size condo – and the oddest thing happened.
It became our home.
A picture here and there on the wall, Catherine’s favorite pieces of furniture, all her knickknacks in the bathroom. We blinked, and it looked and felt just like us.
And then I found that thing I never knew I had.
I had enough.
The wild thing was that having less – actually opened the door to so much more. More in my personal life. More in my career. More in everything.
All I have to do is look in the eyes of my two girls -- and they take me back, every time, to the most beautiful, colorful, emotional scrapbook I could ever dream of having.
All I have to do is hold my wife’s hand, and it hypnotizes me back to kissing her for the first time, falling in love with everything she did, seeing her in that hospital room holding our first baby for the first time.
It sure seems there is so much more to see, and feel, and be – if I have the courage, if I have the will to shape a life that’s just…
People have shared Dunne's post more than 24,000 times and it's easy to see why. He's speaking a truth we probably all know deep down on some level. Things don't make a life. Things don't make relationships. They don't even make memories, though we tend to hold onto them as if they do. We may associate places and things with memories, but we don't need the places and things for our memories to live on.
Kudos to Dunne and his wife for looking ahead to what their children would have to go through after they pass if they didn't go through it now themselves. And kudos to them for truly embracing the freedom that comes with having raised your children to adulthood. The empty nest years can be whatever you choose to make of them, and this couple has figured out a key to making the most of theirs.
The empty nest years that follow are whatever you make of them.
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As the old saying goes, “do good and it will come back to you in unexpected ways.”
Sometimes those “unexpected ways” come in four-wheel drive.
Oscar Rodriguez is a Navy veteran, church leader and personal trainer in Culver City, California. More important than that, he is a good person with a giving heart. In addition to taking care of his 75-year-old mom, he also makes meals for women victims of domestic violence.
Rodriguez thought he won the ultimate prize: going to a special VIP screening of Dwayne Johnson's new film "Red Notice," and getting pulled up on stage by The Rock himself. But it only got better from there.
Thanking him for his service, praising him for giving back to his community and bonding with him as a fellow “mamma’s boy,” Johnson stands with Rodriguez on the stage exchanging hugs … until Johnson says “I wanna show you something real quick.”
A video on The Rock’s Instagram shows the two walking out to a giant black Ford Raptor pick-up truck, where Johnson grabs a note and hands it to Rodriguez, saying, “I wrote this card for you. It’s a little thing.”
Playing along, a bewildered Rodriguez reads: “Thank you for your service brother. Enjoy your new tru-”
Rodriguez collapsed with tears before finishing his sentence. And rightly so. It’s not every day you're gifted Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s very own custom truck.
The caption on Johnson’s post explains that he originally planned to give Rodriguez the same Porsche Taycan driven in the movie. Porsche said no, but the Rock still said yes, and aimed to “do one better.”
Honestly, I don’t know which is more heartwarming: the fact that this fan gets the ultimate surprise from one of his heroes, or seeing two grown men with such a huge display of emotion.
Bursting up from the ground, Rodriguez goes in for yet another hug with the Hollywood icon. His voice high and cracking from passion, he exclaims, “Yo, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen you in this truck,” while sobbing and holding his chest. Rodriguez then Facetimes his girlfriend, and shrieks of “oh my god” can be heard from the phone.
As Rodriguez peels out of the parking lot in style, Johnson tells viewers “his laundry list of caring credentials, it's pretty amazing. So it’s just an honor for me to bring a little bit of joy to a dude who deserves probably a lot more than just my truck.” Not missing a beat, he adds “and now I can figure out…how to get home.”
The Rock might be without a car, but Oscar Rodriguez now has a daily reminder that kindness matters, and that acts of generosity do get noticed. Something tells me that he does these things from something other than extrinsic motivation. Still, a new car always helps.
On Thanksgiving, Rodriguez posted that he plans to emulate Johnson’s positivity, using the “new whip” to pay it forward by encouraging people and lifting their spirits, bringing cheer.
As Rodriguez’s story reminds us, “it’s just love.” Wonderful, surprising moments happen when we remember to act from our hearts.
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