To me, the most important thing we humans do is build community and togetherness.”
With five siblings and two parents, what Radney Wood and his family lacked in material wealth they more than made up for with abundant love and kindness. It’s clear growing up in a full house instilled in Rad an apparent aversion to any sort of spotlight pointed in his direction. When asked about himself, Rad limits his responses with a to-the-point terseness; but once the focus shifts to his inspirations and influences, he will seize the opportunity to selflessly explain the motivations that help illuminate his purpose and drive his philanthropic ambitions.
Rad and his family grew up well below the poverty line. Any kind of aid offered by government programs, charities, or even individuals went a long way to support a struggling family and would not soon be forgotten in the minds of grateful beneficiaries like Rad. Despite their economically disadvantaged position, his family would not reciprocate with mere appreciation. Rad’s mother knew the importance of supporting one’s community, no matter the circumstances, and inspired others to do the same. Providing home-cooked meals, housing a troubled youth, or simply devoting her time to support others in need set an unforgettable example that Rad continues to replicate in his work as an attorney at Vela Wood and co-founder of Globekick.
Dollars and cents were never an accurate indication of a life well-lived for Rad and his family. This crucial lesson bares an irresistible relevance now more than ever. As Rad himself says, “we must remember that GDP, the New York Stock Exchange and these economic metrics through which we too often view our society measure all revenue streams equally: meaning the money that is produced from the destruction of the environment, the mass incarceration of peoples, and the high levels of drug and alcohol abuse are positives.” Profit margins do nothing to support a happy and healthy community. The narrative we promote should revolve around the kind of warmth and generosity that radiate from loving persons like Rad’s mother instead of the superficial prosperity of empty economic success.
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