Upwards and Onwards at the Grassroot Institute

by  Richard Rowland 

As you know, Jamie Story, GRIH’s president for the last three years, will be leaving us to take on a new and very important responsibility in Texas. We view this with mixed emotions. Jamie’s leadership has brought the Grassroot Institute to a much higher level of competency and effectiveness. We will always be eternally grateful and indebted to her. On the other hand, we understand it is time for her to return to her home state where many new and exciting adventures await her. So, we are sad for us and glad for her.

There is no doubt that her shoes will be hard to fill. But we are confident that another qualified leader is waiting in the wings. We are in the midst of the difficult search for Jamie’s replacement. We are looking for a president who has three-plus years of administrative leadership experience and familiarity with our capacity building partner, the State Policy Network. If you know anyone who might be interested in this position, please encourage him or her to personally drop me an email (dick@grassrootinstitute.org) or call me (808-864-1776).

In the meantime, I will take over as acting president and keep the GRIH ship on course. This task would be challenging if not for the excellent staff we have in place: Nacia Blom (Director of Development), Frances Nuar (Policy Analyst), Bekah Anderson (Office Manager), and Brandon Bosworth (Editorial Consultant). They are joined by our key project contract managers:

ñ  Malia Hill (www.hawaiisunshine.org &www.4hawaiiansonly.com)

ñ  Jay McWilliams (www.hawaiivotes.org)

ñ  Melissa Short (improving education)

ñ  Steven Duffeld (Akaka bill education)

I am honored to work alongside these hardworking and dedicated individuals as we strive to bring liberty, free markets, and limited government to Hawaii.

However, all of our efforts would be in vain if not for the excellent network of GRIH volunteers that work hard to advance our mission. They extend  in-kind services to support our efforts. All prefer to do what they do “under the radar,” so to speak. They neither seek nor want public recognition but generously work and give of themselves to promote liberty throughout the state.

In fact, just today I did some quick calculations and realized that last year alone, our anonymous volunteers generously contributed $250,000 of their time and efforts to the Grassroot Institute. Good grief! It is very sobering as well as gratifying to put an overall dollar number on their work. In fact, I have no idea what we would do without the amazing support of all of our donors and volunteers. Since the Grassroot Institute operates on non-government voluntary donations, each of our supporters provides a boost to every actual donation.

This reminds me of an interesting story that I hope you find inspiring. George Soros and other major contributors to statist think thanks are perpetually baffled by how much they have to contribute to get the same “bang for the buck” as the liberty-oriented state think tanks do. I even had the former CEO of a statist think thank tell me he thought the effectiveness of our dollars was 10 times “theirs” and that they could not figure out why.

But I know why. From a personal economic standpoint, each person is a “maker” or a “taker.”Makers create. Takers work to find a feeding trough to stand at. Makers want “leave me alone” for all who are peaceful. Takers look for ways to force others to fill their trough. Makers usually shun publicity, takers want help to get to stay at a full trough and want to be known and recognized. One works silently for everyone’s freedom to choose; the other stands at the head of the line for goodies.

Dollar for dollar, freedom-orientated think tank “makers” are way more effective than the “takers.” And that is why we have been so successful at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. It has been due to the efforts of our hardworking staff as well as the sacrifices of our loyal supporters. We have a challenging road in front of us – bringing liberty and free markets to an overtly liberal state. But I know we can be successful. And at GRIH, we have the policy solutions, original research, and fresh ideas to turn the tide. But we need your help.

I hope you will consider supporting our work today. We cannot accomplish anything without the support and help of our members. Two ways that you can give today are outlined below:

ñ  To expand the GRIH operations and keep our programs running effectively requires ongoing operating funds from donors like you. Monthly contributions are an effective way to help out. We already have donors who choose to help in this way. This type of donation gives GRIH the freedom to move forward and respond to the most pressing needs and policy issues because we know exactly the amount of money we can count on each month.

ñ  When you see something that GRIH does that you like, please write us a thank you check, go on to ourwww.grassrootinstitute.org to donate or call us at 808-591-9193. Make it personal if you can.

I hope I can count on your support today. Please feel free to visit our website or call our office at 808-591-9193 to make a contribution or sign up for monthly donations.

Again, I want to take this opportunity to say aloha and mahalo to our forever friend and inspiration., Jamie Story.


Dick Rowland is President Emeritus of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.


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