For the Greatest Good, For the Greatest Number in the Long Run


Too often, we make decisions based on creating favourable results in the short-term without considering how these decisions will impact the long-term.

The Pinchot family made a great fortune from lumbering and land speculation. James Pinchot regretted the damage his family’s work had done to the land. So he decided to make conservation a family affair and suggested that his son, Gifford should become a forester.

Gifford Pinchot became the first forester in the USA, after having gone to Europe for 18 months to learn how the Europeans practiced sustainable resource management.

When he returned, he became the first Chief of the United States Forest Service and partnered with Yale to train future foresters on his family’s property (The Grey Towers).

He believed that Americans needed to manage resources in a sustainable way to ensure that his children, grandchildren and generations beyond, would benefit from the beauty of nature while enjoying a sustainable economy. Pinchot knew that our very survival depends on the forests for clean air and water.

It’s amazing to me that the Pinchots were thinking about these things in the late 1800s. They set the stage for future conservationists by gathering with, and discussing a balance between conservation and economy, with some of the most prominent thinkers of their time.

Listen to the principles Gifford penned and employed in his work to ensure that future generations, not just the elite, but all people would benefit from the proper management of America’s forests:

For the greatest good, for the greatest number in the long run. Applying common sense for common problems for the common good. ~ Gifford Pinchot

Wouldn’t you agree this principle could be applied to almost anything we want to accomplish, including fundraising?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.





  1. Pingback: The ‘I’m Right and You’re wrong’ Mindset | talktodiana
  2. Tracy Lee Karner

    It’s true, that it makes sense to think about the common good. But it rarely happens. I think it’s futile to try and change those who don’t want to participate in thinking about the common good. But to gather those who do, to facilitate their cooperation…. that changes things!

      • Tracy Lee Karner

        I think it’s a matter of knowing what I’m called to do (and what I’m not called to do). There are so many problems, and only so many hours in a day — and living healthfully and sanely comes first.

        I’ve done a lot of “doing” and now I’m often passing the baton to the next generation, while focusing on the projects where I can most effect positive change.

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