Posts Tagged ‘Bill Shore’

Teach Your Children Well

Blog readers will be familiar with Billy Shore — a Timberland board member, author and the founder and executive director of Share our Strength, the nation’s leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America.  He’s also a father — and in a newly-released book, “If I Were Your Daddy, This Is What You’d Learn,” Billy is one of thirty-five dads who share the most important gifts they gave their children.

The book focuses on the inspirational and educational lessons today’s fathers are passing on to the next generation – contributing to the notion of “sustainable living” by developing children with the minds and hearts to value nature, to value other people, and to turn those values into actions.

Here’s an excerpt from what Billy Shore had to say about the values he feels are indispensable in teaching his three children:

People are so diverse. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and we all approach things so differently. That’s why tolerance is so important in life. When you criticize, you attack differences like a prizefighter in a corner of the ring. When you’re tolerant, you suspend judgment ….

Novelist Walker Percy once said that passing life’s lessons on to our children is like two prisoners pushing notes between cell blocks. You never know if you’re getting through, but you keep doing it anyway. Years [after one especially important lesson], I heard [my son] Zach counseling a friend, “So-and-so did this, but he’s had a hard life. You can never know the whole story.” It felt pretty good to know that some of those messages got through after all.

That’s sustainable living.

If you’re interested in raising children who have a heart for the world, If I Were Your Daddy tells you how many powerful dads have done it. As a Timberland fan, you can preview the book by downloading Billy Shore’s entire chapter for free at

What’s the single most important lesson you would — or do — try to teach your children?

The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men

Bill Shore is the founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, the nation’s leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America.  He’s also a valued member of Timberland’s board of directors.  In his spare time, he has written three books – the latest of which was published last month.

The book, entitled, “The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men,” chronicles the efforts of a group of scientists determined to find a vaccine for malaria — and in the process, examines the qualities, character and values inherent in individuals who commit themselves to creating positive change and addressing the world’s most critical problems, despite the odds, risks and challenges.

Much of Bill’s insights are universally relevant — and inspiring:

“As Dan Pallotta, founder of the ambitious and wildly successful AIDSRides, bicycle rides to raise funds for AIDS service organizations, once said to me:  ‘Don’t you suppose someone must have argued to Henry Ford:  ‘But that’s crazy — you’d have to build these gas station places all over the country and pave these incredibly long roads.’”  Great imaginations are almost always unreasonable, but they almost always triumph in the end.

Most of us won’t cure malaria or invent the next automobile.  So why are these elements of breakthrough thinking important in our own lives?  Can they apply to each of us?  They do if we believe that the organizations, communities, and world of which we are a part can do better.  They are important if we’re frustrated with the slow and incremental pace of social change, or if we wish to play some small role in lightening the suffering and struggles of those less fortunate with whom we share this planet.  They are the qualities that allow some people, gifted with great vision, to insist that, rather than taking the reasonable approach of adapting to the world, the world, in George Bernard Shaw’s words, must adapt itself to the unreasonable man.”

The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men, along with Bill’s other books, is available on

Headed Back to Haiti

Early next week, Timberland President and CEO Jeff Swartz will return to Haiti for the second time since January’s earthquake. Jeff will travel with a powerful team of individuals representing a variety of industries and specialties, united in their desire to contribute to supporting Haiti and its people – both today, and looking into the future.

Among those joining Jeff next week:

Bill Shore, founder of Share Our Strength
Cat Cora, founder of Chefs for Humanity
Stephanie Dodson, co-founder and director of Strategic Grant Partners
Former Nebraska Governor and Senator Bob Kerrey
Winifred Danke, executive director of the Prosthetic Outreach Foundation

Hunger, prosthetics and economic development are three very different but very real needs that have emerged in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake, and the team traveling to Haiti next week will work to assess those needs and help create actionable, sustainable solutions to each. Specifically, they’ll be meeting with NGOs and Haitian government officials providing prosthetics and rehabilitation for injured Haitians, visit schools with the World Food Program and hospitals where Partners in Health are working, and see first hand the progress being made through agricultural initiatives being implemented by our partner Yele Haiti and Chefs for Humanity.

Stay tuned for an update from Jeff next week after his return; until then, please join us in thanking this group for their commitment to creating a positive impact for Haiti and its people.


We’re thankful for the leadership, vision and commitment of Bill Shore — Timberland board member and founder and executive director of Share Our Strength , the nation’s leading organization endeavoring to end childhood hunger:

I’ve always been an early riser. One of the things I love most about Maine in summer is that the dawn breaks as early as 4:30 a.m.  I’m usually waiting at the window to catch it. My writing or whatever I’m working on brightens with the new day.  This weekend before Thanksgiving in late November I am still up early. But the wait for daybreak is much longer. It is nearly 6:30 before I get to feel anything other than alone in the darkness.  Finally, a thin line of light appears on the horizon.

This long wait for darkness to lift must be what millions of our fellow Americans feel, trapped by recession, many for the first time in their lives, without jobs and increasingly without food, waiting … waiting… for the dawn to break. Two reports released this month evoke the words of poet William Stafford that “the darkness around us is deep.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its annual report, which showed a record 49 million Americans in 2008 struggling with whether they would have enough to eat. The number of children who experienced the most severe hunger increased from 700,000 to more than 1 million.

And just this morning, Share Our Strength released a survey, prepared by Lake Research Partners showing that this year, 62% of public school teachers are seeing children who regularly come to school hungry because they don’t get enough to eat at home.  The problem is serious enough that 63% of teachers use funds from their own relatively low salaries to buy food for hungry kids in their classroom.

In the darkness it is easy to misdiagnose a problem. When one does, the prescription for treating it is likely to be wrong.  That often happens with hunger in America. Children in our country are not hungry because we lack food, or because we lack food and nutrition programs.  We are blessed with abundance of both, and for more than 25 years there has been bipartisan support for effective food programs like school lunch, school breakfast and food stamps.

Children in America who are hungry are hungry because they aren’t enrolled in these programs.  Even in a weak economy, that is a solvable problem. But it requires more than the federal expansion of food and nutrition programs (which we also support). It requires working at the state and local levels to close the gap in the number of children who are already eligible for such programs but not enrolled or participating.

Maybe families don’t know the programs exist. Maybe kids can’t get to them. Our work is sometimes as simple as staffing a hotline to connect children with summer feeding sites in their neighborhood, or as complicated as lobbying for universal breakfast in the classroom, which tackles the challenge of kids not getting to school early enough for free breakfast, and the stigma that often prevents them from participating.

The barriers that keep children from programs that can prevent hunger are varied – and our strategy is tackling every one – state by state. Tomorrow, I’ll be in Denver with Colorado Governor Ritter to announce the launch of just such an effort, much as we’ve done with Governor O’Malley in Maryland and will be doing with others around the U.S. Our strategy is working, our network is growing in size and influence and we’re more certain than ever that we can end childhood hunger by 2015, but we need your continued support .

As governors with shrinking state budgets find themselves cutting social programs they’d prefer to grow, Share Our Strength’s strategy offers a ray of hope by bringing badly needed and already authorized federal dollars into their states to help feed children. Given projections that unemployment will remain at 10% or above through 2010, that states will continue to struggle with budget crises, as will food banks with shortages, Share Our Strength’s state-based strategy is the fastest, most realistic way to ensure that children get fed.

During the holiday season’s predictable media coverage of food banks and families in need of emergency assistance, it is worth noting that the USDA reports that just one in five families enrolled in programs like food stamps and school meals has actually visited a food pantry.  Standing in a line at a food pantry in crisis is the last place a family should be. If instead, they are taking advantage of programs that stretch their food budget, teach them how to shop for and cook nutritious foods, and ensure that their children have free school and summer meals, they will never need to be there. This is the work that Share Our Strength is doing, and we need your continued support.

Please make the most generous gift possible this year, and help ensure that our work continues.

As I finish writing this, the sun has climbed high in the sky. I’m reminded that increasingly Share Our Strength’s role is to help bring light where there has been darkness, to educate hungry families and local government officials about untapped existing resources for feeding kids.

Thanks for all you are doing to help. Our early successes leave us confident of achieving our ambitious goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015.  Once we do, there will be at least one less reason for families to wait anxiously for the dawn.

- Billy Shore