Among the most loyal and generous of the Mackinac Center’s many supporters are Doug and Mary Kapnick of Adrian, Michigan, who have partnered in our work for many years.
Doug has accumulated immense wisdom in his many years as the leader of Kapnick Insurance. When we speak, Doug typically has a pithy and memorable phrase to share. For example, at our first visit, he shared with me his investment disciplines and philosophy. I lamented that following a similar discipline lead me to sell a small investment at a modest gain, but had I held on, it would have resulted in an immense gain. Doug said, “Jim, no one has ever gone broke by turning a profit.”
In 2019, Doug imparted me with this maxim:
“Life divides into thirds: the first third you learn, the second third you earn, the last third you return.”
I responded, “I better live long, because I’m in my second third but am still learning!”
Since that meeting, I’ve reflected at length on this simple analysis of life’s progression, especially how it might apply to not just my own life, but the lifecycle of an organization like the Mackinac Center.
One person may successfully complete all three stages (learning, earning and returning) over a span of several decades before reaching life’s end.
But a curious, hardworking, and well-supported organization can stay vital for hundreds of years. It can be continuously renewed and sustained by fresh faces who are learning the craft, industrious individuals who earn and create wealth, and generous partners who return what they have learned and earned back toward the mission!
That’s why an organization can have much more impact than a single person ever could: Only by coming together as a group with shared goals can we fully harness the abilities of people in all three phases life.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has been advancing freedom and prosperity with gusto in the great state of Michigan (and nationwide) since 1987.
Many victories have been won along the way. Through each stage of their journey — from the child who writes a letter to a state representative to the couple who remembers the Mackinac Center in their will — our partners have generously invested time, talent, and energy to help build Mackinac into the vital engine for prosperity and freedom that it is today.
In the early days, you helped us learn how to effectively make changes in public policy (it turns out that facts and research alone aren’t enough to move legislators to act in the public’s best interest).
Today, you ask us to earn your trust and support by working to make Michigan the most free and prosperous state it can be. We welcome that accountability!
As we carry our work forward together, your investments will return policy wins. The results will be a state and nation that are freer, more prosperous, and building on the best America has to offer.