I felt compelled to respond to a growing sense that it’s my responsibility to leave the world a better place for my kids.
47 years old
I co-founded Dads 4 Change in September 2014 to help showcase the various causes supported by parents and kids around the world. We feature dads, moms, daughters, and sons who work toward social good and promote global citizenship, and we partner with charitable organizations to raise awareness about their causes.
What inspired what you do?
When I reached my 40s, I felt compelled to respond to a growing sense that it’s my responsibility to leave the world a better place for my kids. A friend and fellow father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the international dad blogger community came together to raise more than $40,000 for his family in a short time. My co-founder and I wanted to see what would happen if we turned that compassion and energy outward, channeling it toward other important causes, charities, and organizations.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face (or have faced)?
Two things: time and audience building. My co-founder and I work other jobs and are extremely engaged dads, so our Dads 4 Change responsibilities sometimes take a back seat to daily life. And because it takes a lot of time and effort to build an online audience, we have not grown as quickly as we might have.
What have you learned about yourself as a result of this work?
I’ve learned I harbor an inner activist, a side of me that remained dormant as I built my journalism career in the 1990s and 2000s. I find intolerance intolerable, and I’ve learned that I can’t help speaking out against it.
Are there any men (past or present) you particularly admire or who have influenced you?
There have been many. I like to tell people about Chicago Cubs manager Joe Madden, who I came to know a little bit during his time as Tampa Bay Rays manager when I covered that team for a newspaper. He is a great thinker, a persistent optimist (sometimes to the point of seeming irrational, but that proves his commitment), and one of the kindest and most gracious people I had the privilege to meet during my 24-year career in sports journalism. He demonstrated as well as I have seen the power of independent thought to shatter stereotypes and to choose an alternative path to success.
What’s the last great book you read or great movie you watched?
Our family enjoyed the Disney movie Zootopia. No big spoilers here, but it told a nice story about ambition and dreams. And even though its social message was a bit clunky at times, at least it tried to tackle two important themes: acceptance and human frailty. I liked that the hero went on two journeys – one that taught her what she could accomplish if she persisted and believed in herself, and another that revealed her own inherent biases and showed her the consequences – and gave her the chance for redemption and growth through life experience.
What advice would you give to other men interested in doing what you do, or otherwise making a difference in their community?
It starts in your own back yard. If you see something that moves you, something that touches your heart and compels you to act, follow that impulse. Reach out to the people in your town who are working to make a difference in a cause you care about. Ask what you can do to help. If you are a father, and you see that your child has developed an interest in a particular charity or cause, allow them to take the lead. Give them your time and interest. Show them that you care about what they care about.
How can others learn about you, get in touch, or support your work?