by Scott McIntosh, Co-Founder, MAC6
“The idea of creating a community garden to help address homelessness is innovative, forward-thinking, and exactly what we would expect from the creative minds of MAC 6 and Tiger Mountain. This is an excellent example of conscientious leaders partnering to make a difference.” — Corey Woods, Mayor at City of Tempe
At MAC6 we Advocate Capitalism as a Force for Good, believing in our heart of hearts that free enterprise capitalism has lifted more people from poverty than any other socio-economic system yet conceived.
We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. And we can aspire to even more. — Conscious Capitalist Credo
In recent years, MAC6 has been forced to confront the brutal facts about vagrancy and homelessness in our own local community. From daily observations it became clear that a large part of the problem is focused on the northeast corner of our property boundary with the local Motel 6 and a low wall running south along Priest toward an adjacent Circle K.
In Conscious Capitalism® we talk about Stakeholder Orientation as one of four principles of good (and profitable) business. Traditional and obvious stakeholders are Customers, Employees, Vendors, and Investors. In Conscious Capitalism we think bigger and longer term, adding Community and Environment to our stakeholder list.
Why community as a stakeholder? It simply makes sense – it is far more likely that my business and employees will thrive when surrounded by a thriving community. But a question I’ve wrestled with for many years is how do we actually engage with community as a business stakeholder? Traditionally, conscious businesses have looked at investment in synergistic nonprofits as a way to engage with and support community. But as we we’ve been dealing with the issue of homelessness and vagrancy; we’ve taken a step back to do a deeper dive into the entire idea of how we look at our community stakeholder.
Through that process we’ve come to recognize and appreciate a long list of community stakeholders including with great appreciation; The City of Tempe Police and Human Resources Departments, Tiger Mountain Foundation (We Don’t Just Plant Fruits & Vegetables: We Cultivate Better Communities), Local First Arizona, Conscious Capitalism Arizona, Tempe Chamber of Commerce, and many more including all of the other local businesses surrounding our MAC6 Entrepreneurial Center location.
And curiously enough, we’ve also come to recognize homeless and vagrants as stakeholders in our business. This is a much longer story, but through the nightly Tiger Mountain “community engagement” patrols at MAC6 , we’ve come to realize what should have been more obvious, most all of the folks we are calling homeless / vagrant have their own dreams and aspirations.
So yes, we now look at homeless and vagrants as stakeholders in our business. We are forced to confront the issue one way or another, and through our Community Garden initiative and resources from Tiger Mountain, the City of Tempe, and others, we are helping those so called homeless who are actually open to help, while simultaneously allowing us to focus on our MAC6 purpose – Building Better Communities Where People and Businesses Thrive.
Join us April 29th to celebrate (food trucks, garden produce and more) a unique collaboration between MAC6 , Tiger Mountain, and the City of Tempe addressing homelessness and community revitalization. We are still very much a work in progress, but we are incredibly excited by the progress we are making, including curiously enough, looking at homeless as stakeholders in our business.