It began in 2015 with a community-wide Book Club started by Longview, Texas Mayor Andy Mack. Yes, Mayor Mack’s Book Club was a way that this East Texas city’s chief executive officer felt he could share the value of reading with his constituents as well as help them acquire a mindset that said, “The more you give, the more you have.”
The first book he chose was “The Go-Giver,” a business parable coauthored by Bob Burg and John David Mann. While ostensibly it’s book on how to grow your business and increase sales through the principle of providing (giving) value to all whose lives you touch, the message is bigger than that. And Mayor Mack was determined to share this message with his town of just over 82,000 people. The 6-week online discussion was a huge success.
Julie Woods, Go-Giver Gala Chair and local real estate broker shared:
“Through that book club, Longview received national attention and Mayor Mack developed a friendship with the book’s authors, Bob and John.”But more important than that recognition was the stirring in the hearts of their residents. They began to hear stories of people doing amazing things for one another. A fund was created to place handicap accessible swings in their parks, a computer was repaired unexpectedly by a stranger who had read the book, scholarships were awarded to area high school students, stamps were passed out freely between strangers at a post office once they realized they all embraced The Go-Giver Way. And through a conversation overheard at a local Chick-fil-A between Longview Police Officers and a stranger attuned to God’s whisper, body cameras were purchased for all officers in Longview. A movement had begun. And still moves today.”
They created the Mayor’s Homelessness Task Force, a group of 35 individuals who met several times per month to develop strategies to help their fellow Longview residents find a way out of the homeless lifestyle. They met for six months and developed projects viable for their city to assist and reduce their homeless population. The idea of the Go-Giver Gala was born during a conversation between Mayor Mack and Julie Woods as a creative way to fund the potential projects.
Examples of the Homelessness Task Force Potential Projects
- A Work Program designed to provide an opportunity for homeless individuals to work and earn a living, receive mentoring, clothing and food.
- A Homeless Outreach Team staffed with two Longview Police Officers entirely dedicated to being advocates for the homeless population.
- Annual or Semi-Annual Service Fairs in which the homeless organizations in town come together to provide services and help in one location to those in the homeless population.
First Annual Go-Giver Gala
The First Annual Go-Giver Gala was a dinner and dance honoring Go-Givers of Longview (Tom & Jill Chinn, Natalie Rabicoff, Tim Wiseman and Neal McCoy) with all the proceeds going towards ending homelessness in their community.
Their initial (and audacious) goal was to raise $100,000. Well, they didn’t exactly hit their goal. Instead, they far exceeded it by raising just over $250,000!
And they plan to carry out their mission The Go-Giver Way. As Mayor Mack says…
“Not through handouts, but through hand ups — equipping our homeless community with tools and resources to step into a productive lifestyle with dignity.”
Of course, these Go-Givers are not stopping there. They’re already planning next year’s Gala which will take place on January 5, 2019.
So, save the date!
What a beautiful example of the citizens of Longview coming together and creating value — developing creative solutions and raising the money to pay for the projects — and positively impacting the lives of their fellow residents.
Thank you Mayor Mack, Julie Woods, and all the Go-Givers of Longview for leading the way and being such an inspiration!