Opening Words from Sun. January 11: "Pledge" by Krystal White

Good morning, everyone. Although I feel like I have been a part of this community forever, actually, my family and I are relatively recent additions. We joined the Ethical Society in September, 2012, with the thought to feel this place out and see whether it was suited for us long term. I am so glad we became members – I had no idea then how central the Ethical Society would be in our lives now. It’s a place for us to fit in, for us to raise our kids, for us to create a positive impact. It supports causes we believe are important and it avoids the dogma that makes us uncomfortable. This place and this community help us to be better people and that is incredibly valuable to us. Contributing to the Ethical Society is an investment in our family, in our character development, in our capacity to grow, and in our relationships with others.

I confess that, when Eric and I made our initial pledge, back in 2012, we somewhat arbitrarily chose an amount. We knew that we should give an amount that fit within our budget – so we did – but there was not much of an emotional attachment to it. It very much felt like buying into a community and, with that mindset, this becomes a very expensive nametag.

But then we became more involved here – in SEEK, in the Navigators, regular attendees at platforms and committee meetings – and our depth of commitment to the Ethical Society increased. We saw our children change from reticent to eager participants; we saw ourselves change from outsiders into active members. We cared more about this place and the community built within, and we wanted our philanthropic giving to match that personal commitment. Our mindset changed about the pledge. Instead of being an annual obligation, performed out of duty, our pledge became a way for us to show how much the Ethical Society meant to us, for us to demonstrate our deepening personal connection and passion.

So, we gave the Ethical Society a raise, so to speak, and made it a core recipient of our philanthropic giving. Did it affect our budget? Yes, it did. Did we minimize contributions to other organizations as a result? Yes, we did. But, for our family, it was an easy decision. I encourage you to be reflective and thoughtful about your pledge as well. Don’t just sign up for the same pledge amount because it’s what you have always done. Do you feel more connected now? Are you more inspired by the community, by the Ethical Action projects, by the energizing Youth Group, by our voices lifted up in song? Do you want to preserve what we have and make it grow? We are the ones to make that happen.

We owe a tremendous debt to all members of the past 100 years who pledged to sustain this place and this community. My family is honored to join you and do our part to help ensure the Ethical Society’s vitality for this year and years to come. Thank you.