“A Fortune should not always be measured by its perceived value.”
Stories of great innovators who went from rags to riches, certainly abound throughout the last one hundred years. Their diligent efforts and hard work are frequently chronicled in articles, books and even in full-length, cinematic films. Most of them are centered around the idea that someone started with next to nothing and went on to create a thriving business. While this type of success is definitely something worth admiring, it is often equated with attaining a level of, or assuring some type of happiness. No doubt all of us have heard the expression money can’t buy happiness, however; when these rags to riches stories are portrayed – and somewhat revered – in this way, that expression seems to fall by the wayside.
To close out the year, let’s put a little different spin on those kinds of stories and highlight some who intentionally reversed the wording and completely altered their lives. Namely, stories where individuals went from “Riches to Rags” for a greater good. Commending and applauding those who realized that although their greatest accomplishments were not in the wealth they accumulated but rather how they could touch and inspire the lives of others. That their pursuit of happiness was discovered when they used their great fortune for the benefit of their community and beyond.
For the Christmas Holiday, I traveled to Dallas, Texas to visit two of my sons and their families. My daughter-in-law told me about a local farm started by Daron Babcock, who worked at a private equity firm and did extremely well. At 47, he did some soul searching and began volunteering in a neighborhood known as Bonton, which was riddled with poverty, drugs, and former inmates looking to reenter society.
The town’s people really touched his heart. However, there were no local grocery stores and the people in thet community were literally dying from poor nutrition. He soon realized that the two hours a week he spent volunteering weren’t enough. After a few months, he quit his job and moved to the town to become part of their community.
Although many of the residents were suspicious, Babcock concluded the best way to start helping was to grow healthy food that was accessible to his new neighbors. The farm began in his backyard but with support from Habitat for Humanity and the city of Dallas, Bonton Farms became a reality.
Today there are two locations from which their produce, milk, eggs, and honey are sold and even sought after by some of Dallas’ finer restaurants. But for Babcock, the most important accomplishment is to bring hope back to a community that in many ways had none. He chose rather to help and inspire a community that most would have written off.
There is no better way for 2018 to begin than with a giving spirit; one which has a potential of transforming a life. Next week will feature one more story of “Riches To Rags”. If you have one of your own, please feel free to leave it in the comments. Thank you.
All of the pictures were provided by my daughter-in-law from when she took her children to visit the farms. To Find out more about Bonton Farms, click here .