The Proverbs Of Two Fathers And Their Meaning For Homeport
By Michael Kelley
My grandfather, Don Kelley and my father Tim Kelley have imparted much wisdom on me over the years. Sometimes this wisdom is conveyed through old sayings or proverbs. For example, around the time I became part of our family’s real estate company five years ago, Don commented, “You could fall into a pile of manure and still come out smelling like a rose.” Some say Don (Old Timer) is full of manure, but it was a fair commentary on the environment around me as I started to work on real estate development deals – low interest rates, high demand for apartments, and incredible partners (like the Weiler family). The advice I take away from my grandfather: Take some risks! Be bold! Don’t fear failure. This reflects Don’s penchant for risk as an entrepreneurial-minded Army veteran turned telephone company worker who had little to lose when he started his real estate career.
Tim likes another proverb, which has been attributed to Andrew Carnegie. “Shirt sleeves to shirts sleeves in three generations.” This is good advice too. A warning not to become entitled or complacent. Be diligent. Focus on what is most important. This advice reflects Tim’s disciplined background as an attorney, and his responsibility for managing risk and helping grow an established company.
I believe both pieces of advice might also apply to Homeport as it, like me, comes to the end of its third decade. Now, more than ever before, the environment is right for Homeport take bold action without fear of failure in the struggle to provide dignity, security and opportunity for Central Ohio residents. To be sure, the challenges that Homeport faces are significant, and in some ways more daunting than in 1987 when it was founded. A widening disparity of wealth means more families need affordable housing. Diminished federal funding for various initiatives means revenue cuts from previously reliable sources. And yet, Homeport is surrounded by opportunity and possibility:
· Public awareness about the problem of affordable housing is now at an all-time high;
· The Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio has opened lines of communication and possibilities of synergy with like-minded organizations.
· Homeport has a high-caliber President & CEO in Bruce Luecke and an extremely talented staff from top to bottom. (In fact, Homeport was recently named one of the top 5 non-profits to watch by the Columbus Foundation.)
Homeport is already showing bold leadership and it is actively exploring new and innovative ways to build more apartment communities, revitalize more homes and reach more families. At the same time, Homeport must continue to be disciplined and focused, refusing to become complacent and never losing sight of its core mission that is so critical to our community.
It is with deep gratitude that the Kelley family accepts this year’s Voice & Vision award. We are honored to be part of this 30th year anniversary celebration, and humbled to count ourselves in the company of its previous recipients, Maude Hill and Hal Keller, whose voices and visions continue to inspire us. The Kelley family is proud to have supported Homeport over the last 30 years, and we pledge our support for the next 30. We have utmost confidence in Homeport’s ability to take bold yet disciplined action. If we all roll up our shirt sleeves, we can ensure that all Columbus families come out smelling like a rose.
(The author, Michael Kelley, is a third generation Homeport Board member. Homeport will honor the Kelley Family with its 2017 Voice & Vision Award on Oct. 19 at St. Charles Preparatory School. Visit our Voice & Vision page for tickets.)