By Boyd Matheson
Published on November 29, 2017

The holidays are a glorious, busy, sometimes hectic time of year. Our thoughts are filled with gift-giving and celebrations and gathering. But it is also a time that prompts us to pause and reflect. As thoughts turn to home and family, we become more keenly aware of those around us, and the things that matter most.

In 1831, a French civil servant from an aristocratic family spent nine months in the United States, studying a very young American democracy. While this Frenchman never used the word “philanthropy,” Alexis de Tocqueville saw a phenomenon in America that became a focus of his writings.

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At the time he called it “the forming of associations.” And it is within this concept of associations that we today may understand one of the truly amazing characteristics of this nation.

Tocqueville observed an American society wherein people – of their own free will and with no coercion from government – come together to contribute to the overall good of their community. He saw people willing and motivated to volunteer their time and resources to nonprofit organizations and to each other – for no other reason than to serve the public good and improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.

That spirit has never dimmed. America is by far the most generous nation in the world. Our concept of coming together, naturally, willingly, and sometimes spontaneously – to address need and serve each other – is one of our very best collective traits. Examples of this spirit of giving and association are always worth celebrating – but especially at this time of year.

Just last month Sutherland hosted a gala celebrating our freedoms and a belief in civil society and the capacity of Americans to come together, to solve problems, to lift one another. Today, we move from the celebration of civil society to active participation – as we recognize and join with a nonprofit and three local businesses that saw a need in our community and are doing something about it.

This is what community solutions look like. Sutherland recognizes, honors and supports Team Red, White & Blue’s mission to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity – and three local businesses that realized they could play a role by supplying the equipment necessary for those physical activities.

We salute Jason Comstock, Andrew Pullens, and Shauna Sowles of Team Red White & Blue. Darrell Phippen from Wasatch Running Center, Alan Greenberg of Cottonwood Cyclery, and Peak Performance Running Store. Sutherland’s donation today on behalf of all who attended our gala last month will help offset the hard costs of equipment and expand these wonderful partnerships.

When people come together, we can improve lives in our communities. Sutherland is proud to play a small part. We are grateful to our donors who make this possible. We are inspired by local businesses that appreciate the men and women who defend this country, and we are grateful beyond measure to those who defend our freedoms.

For Sutherland Institute, this is Boyd Matheson. Thanks for engaging.

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Boyd Matheson is president of Sutherland Institute. Boyd, who served as chief of staff for Utah Senator Mike Lee in Washington, D.C., has a wealth of experience as a coach, executive adviser and business consultant.

In addition to his service as Sen. Lee’s chief of staff, Boyd most recently built a successful political consulting firm advising national and state elected officials and candidates. From 2005 to 2012, he served as president of Trillium Strategies, a consulting firm focused on branding, business transformation and operational excellence.

Boyd and his wife, Debbie, have five children and four grandchildren.

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