We find ourselves at a point in American history where mainstream media, politicians and general societal forces are polarizing our country. It’s become more of a symbolic debate propagated by special interests and ultimately comes back to what gets politicians elected.

The debates over higher versus lower taxes and increases versus cuts in social and government programs are symbolic from the standpoint of: you either have a fundamental belief that government should force you to give it more of your money or whether government should step back and let free markets create the balance and let successful enterprise philanthropically – and voluntarily – give back to society. At the core it’s about the freedom to choose how your dollars are reinvested in society and public programs. The fact remains that the U.S. is the most giving nation in the world, by a long shot. It’s no coincidence that it takes 14 Italian citizens to equal the charitable giving of one American citizen: Italy is well-known for its high taxation and public spending coupled with limited economic freedoms. No, I’m not venturing into that political debate here; it’s not the forum and frankly one page would not suffice.

However, the unplanned common thread in this issue is the belief in giving back voluntarily. Take a look at our cover feature Phil Pfeiffer and his life-long commitment to civic charitable activities. It was his dedication to serving community organizations and public research institutes that helped create a culture of giving in the San Antonio office of Fulbright and Jaworski. This theme of community giving carries through in the Cancer Center Council story by Mary Ballenger Brook and Pam Burdick. The work that they, along with Dr. Thompson at the CTRC, are doing for Cancer research provides a harsh reminder of the need for private support in public issues.

Finally, the Education section featuring the Boerne Education Foundation shows exactly how private giving helps local kids. I attended the signature BEF Rock on Fiesta fundraiser recently, and it’s great to see specifically how some of the $170,000 raised at this top-shelf event was used at each of the Boerne ISD schools.

So in the era where attacking entrepreneurship and financial gain is a trendy means of politically-driven class warfare, this issue of Cordillera Ranch Living delivers a refreshing reminder of the philanthropic surplus provided to our society by so many successful business people. In the fitting words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Enjoy the read and welcome to Fall in the Texas Hill Country!

Charlie Hill
Vice President
Cordillera Ranch

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