The sub-title of Part 2 of this blog series might very well be “Sometimes Doing Good Helps Your Business More Than You Can Imagine.” A complaint I made to my personal mastermind group led to the formation of MMG and eventually fulfilled a long held dream of a family for me. You’d think the story would end there, but it didn’t! The business model got turned inside out by a simple question one Sunday morning.
The next phase for our business started when the Assoc. Pastor of my church asked me for some help with a project he cared about. This happened last spring in Phoenix. If you’ve ever visited Phoenix in the spring, you know that “spring” is used pretty loosely. The temperature is already over 100 degrees during the day.
Two things had happened in the City of Phoenix that directly affected the homeless community. At any given time there are approximately 20,000 homeless people in Phoenix. About 4,000 of them are children.
The First Challenge: Phoenix had adopted the same open-close plan as Chicago for the shelters. In other words, shelters were open in the winter (when the temperature was 60-70 degrees) and closed in the summer (when temperatures could get above 115 degrees). People died on the streets when Phoenix closed their shelters in the summer. Two years ago a man collapsed from dehydration and then got 2nd and 3rd degree burns as he lay on the scorching sidewalk. Yes, we can fry an egg on the sidewalk in the summer in Phoenix. My son proved that one day. That’s a cute story. But, it becomes sinister when you realize that people also fry on the sidewalk … when they have nowhere else to go.
The Second Challenge: The City of Phoenix responded to the rising issue of homelessness in our city with a “campus” of respite care and community services. In this beautiful facility at CASS, the homeless can be assessed for medical, psychological and dental needs and have most of the issues treated right on campus. There is spiritual counseling, for those who want it, connections to family attempted and, in general, it’s just a place to get out of the heat, take a shower and tell your story to someone who can provide the support you need. That’s all a wonderful thing. The problem occurred though when the government began paroling Registered Sex Offenders to the facility. On one hand, I see the value of keeping track of these people. You don’t want them roaming the streets without a way of knowing where they are. But, the unintended result is that homeless families were now barred from going to the campus. There was no place for a family with children to go to get a meal, a shower, dental, medical or psychological services or even to just get out of the heat.
Pastor Scott Richey wanted to create a family respite center to provide these services and make sure it was operating that summer (Summer 2006). We had to fund this, although I had no idea how. The total cost would be about $750,000 for a 5 year commitment.
That’s when I called my partner David Finkel. David said he was on board with helping and within 2 weeks had hopped a plane to come out to Phoenix for a green hat session. (For more information on the 7 Maui Hats™, please see our first book The Maui Millionaires. If you don’t yet own your personal copy of this book, you can go to The Maui Millionaires and buy it now at a deep discount. Once you get your copy, don’t forget to go to www.MauiMillionairesBook.com to register and receive over $2,000 worth of free gifts.)
In the first hour of our green hat session, we generated over 75 ideas on how we could raise a million dollars for the new family respite center in Phoenix. The next hour was spent refining into three keys ideas. First on the list was to do a seminar where 100% of the gross receipts (total collected less credit card fees) would go to this new project, Justa Center. We thought we’d try this idea and see how it went. If we couldn’t raise the money we needed, we still have two other key ideas to try.
Well, the response was overwhelming. We raised over $300,000 in that very first seminar. The operating budget was only $150,000 per year for Justa Center, so we were set for a couple of years. Other charities asked us if they could sell tickets to future events. We said, “Yes!” and then had to figure out when the future events would be. We now do three of these Mini-Maui events per year. At just $500 per ticket, participants got a taste of the larger Maui Mastermind events over two days. Please go to www.MauiMillionairesWealthWeeekend.com for more information on how you can attend a Mini-Maui event to make new friends, spend two information-packed days and support the charity of your choice.
That was just the beginning, though. Word spread about the Mini-Maui and the Maui Mastermind seminars, largely due to the charities talking about what we do. In San Diego, (April 2007) a radio station asked if they could do a live remote from our event, for no charge. We said, “Sure!!” and were astounded by all the comments that came back from the participants. If you’d like to get inspired by some incredible people, please go to WS Radio.
Our business grew simply because we had put the needs our community first. By providing good, honest and ethical strategies on building wealth in a way that enhances all aspects of a healthy life and creating an environment where accountable mastermind groups would flourish, our seminars continue to sell out. Originally, they sold largely through referrals from our clients and returnees. And now, the media helps us spread the story of our companies.