Leading with Love
Podcast #88 — Aired April 10, 2016

To create a better world, lead with love. This week on BetterWorldians Radio, we’re speaking with Judy Wicks, author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business and founder of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia. Wicks will tell listeners how she followed both her mind and heart to create a successful business and lead the way toward more compassionate economy.

 

 

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Judy Wicks
Author, Good Morning, Beautiful Business
Founder, White Dog Café

Judy Wicks is an author, speaker and internationally recognized leader in the local economy movement and co-founder of the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. In 1983 Judy founded Philadelphia’s iconic White Dog Cafe, known for its leadership in the local food movement, and founded Fair Food Philly and Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. She is author of “Good Morning, Beautiful Business,” which received a national gold medal book award in “business leadership.”

 

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Hi, welcome to BetterWorldians Radio. BetterWorldians Radio is a weekly broadcast whose mission is to uplift and inspire you to make the world a better place. Im Ray Hansell joined today by my co-host MarySue Hansell. BetterWorldians Radio is brought to you by the family team that created the popular social game on Facebook called A Better World. It rewards players for doing good deeds while helping to raise money and awareness for charities. So far over forty million good deeds have been done in A Better World by over four million people. These good deeds include expressions of gratitude, acts of kindness, sending notes to real world sick kids here and around the world, just to name a few. This week were talking with Judy Wicks, an author, speaker, an internationally recognized leader in the local economy movement and co-founder of the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. In 1983, Judy founded Philadelphias iconic White Dog Café, known for its leadership in the local food movement, and founded Fair Food Philly and Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. Shes the author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business, which received a national gold medal book award in business leadership. Hi Judy, thanks for joining us today on BetterWorldians Radio.

Judy
Hi Ray, great to be here.

Raymond Hansell
Oh were very happy that youre here. As I had said to you just a few minutes ago, our book, your book Good Morning, Beautiful Business we really loved it. So tell us a little bit about it. Tell us what the title actually means?

Judy
Well, I got the title because during the years I lived above the shop when operating the White Dog Café. I had a sign in my closet that I would see each morning when I got dressed that said Good morning, beautiful business and it was a reminder to me, of just how beautiful business can be when we put our creativity and our energy and our care and concern into producing a product or service that our community needs. So, it was, it was a time when I thought about my own business, and you know, how the farmers were out in field probably, that morning picking food to bring into town and dish washers were coming into sweep up the restaurant, and the bakers were making pies and cookies and what not. And it was a reminder to me of just how much business is really about relationships, with everybody that you buy from and work with and sell to, but money really is, is simply a tool. So thats where I got the name for my book, and of course in my book I really explore that, you know, explore developing positive relationships is the most important part of learning business.

Raymond Hansell
It becomes like a Lynchpin for everything you do from there.

Judy
Yeah.

Raymond Hansell
So tell us a little bit about your trip to Alaska, how did that shape your views on life and on business?

Judy
Well it was an interesting time in my life. It was 1959, I had just graduated from college, and it was during the Vietnam War. And I had just gotten married to my childhood sweetheart, and we needed to do something to avoid the draft, in a sense. But I always wanted to be in the Peace Corps. which was difficult to get into, so we decided to got into Vista. And a long story short we ended up in an Alaskan Eskimo village and it was, it really changed my life in a sense. In that I was able to witness first hand, society, a culture that had survived for thousands of years based on a cooperation and sharing. And it made me reflect back on my own culture, and how, how our economy is really, you know, based on competition and we measure success by how much we accumulate. Where the Eskimos were just the opposite, that the idea of hoarding more than you need was unthinkable, and they shared everything. When a man caught a seal in the spring, the first seal, his wife would have a seal party and divide the meat up between all the families. And anything else that they had accumulated during the year that they didnt need for their own survival was distributed, you know, to other members of the community. So, it gave me, it gave me an alternative worldview in a sense. You know, a world that was based on sharing and cooperation, and where it was really community that provided security and happiness. Where we tend to think down here in the lower forty eight, as they say, that security is dependent upon how much money we have in the bank.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, I was touched by some of the experiences that you described in the early part of the book. About how people would just look at something and if they admired it, the inclination was to give it away, was to give it to that person who admired it.

Judy
Yes, exactly, I was, I was, you know, you always have to be careful what you admire when youre around Eskimos.

Raymond Hansell
Thats right.

Judy
You know, theyll pick it up and give it to you.

Raymond Hansell
Thats right.

Judy
Yeah, (unintelligible)

Raymond Hansell
So after Alaska. Its amazing, its amazing, what a great start in life. Now after Alaska you moved with your then husband Dick, to Philadelphia, and opened up Free Peoples store. So what did that, what did that venture teach you?

Judy
Well it definitely taught me how, you know, to follow your dreams, be willing to start small, to use what resources you have available to you. Make the most of that, and not be deterred by what you dont know. Because we knew nothing about running a business, we were twenty three years old and we were trying to figure out what to do when we came back from the Eskimo village, and when I was a little kid I used to have little ventures, including making things and selling them from my wagon down by the highway. And so I said, why dont we start a store its really easy, you just buy something at one place and you sell it at another place, thats all there is. Well my husband said, that sounds like a good idea. Well long story short, what we had, the Free People store became Urban Outfitters and is now, you know, does a, has several different brands under it including Free People and Urban Outfitters and Terrain and Anthropology and so on, and they do over a billion dollar in sales a year. And we started that business with three thousand dollars, and lot of our own energy and creativity. So, it was really, there was a lot of things, it was my first business, so there were a lot of things I learned including, you know, that theres nothing wrong if I cant profit, that any business has to make a profit in order to survive. And I was one of those 1960s people who thought that, you know, profit was a dirty word and we werent going to make any profit in our store and all this kind of stuff. So, you know, it was a great lesson in many things, in the role that small business plays in the community, and you know, the idea of expressing your values through your business, but all those things during that time, because it was my very first business.

Raymond Hansell
Now you talked a little bit about that in the Samson Committee. How did that actually shape your future business at White Dog Café?

Judy
Yeah, well the Sansom Committee was a community organization that was organized to preserve and protect the historic buildings on our block. The University had claimed they were going to use this block for classrooms and that the redevelopment authority to condemn the properties by imminent domain, to be torn down to make way for the classroom buildings. But then that included where the White Dog Café would eventually be. But, at that time I was working at a different restaurant around the block, and I was living there above where the White Dog would eventually be found. So I was a member of the community and I joined this committee, and, well the most important thing it did, is that we won our case against them, because we discovered that they werent going to use the property for classroom buildings, they were going to build a mall. You know, owned by, so its one of the old boys network stories, you know, where trustees of the university were also the developers of the mall and so on. So, anyway, it taught me the power of community in a sense because it was a David and Goliath story. Here we were small business people and residents of this block, fairly young people, and our adversaries where the University of Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia redevelopment authority, and HUD, the federal government HUD. And, you know, we sued about the wrongfulness of this and, we didnt win the whole thing, we were trying to save the whole block, from Sansom and Walnut Streets. The judge awarded the Walnut Street half to the university to develop and they could have their mall and have their Dunkin Donuts and, you know, all that kind of thing, pizza places and Auntie Annes pretzel shop and all the chain stores on their side. But we were able to save the beautiful brown stone buildings on Sansom Street, where the White Dog Café continues to thrive.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, I encourage our listeners to take, to really look into that, into your book, because it really is a David and Goliath story and like the original story. David comes out for the larger part on top, especially when you look at where that then finally evolved, and your experiences on Samson Street and the various businesses. One of the businesses that became very successful is a business that you no longer own, but you founded it, thats the White Dog Café. So wed love to know, which were very familiar with it, since one of its locations is right around the corner from our offices here in Wayne. So, could you tell our listeners a little bit about the White Dog Café and opening that?

Judy
Sure, I opened it in 1983 and at that time I had been working at a restaurant up the street called Restaurant La Tourist. I began there as a waitress, and then became the general manager, so I had ten years experience running a restaurant and then decided to open the White Dog on the first floor of my house. And, you know, I had to start with what I had, it was not a lot of money, so I began as a muffin and coffee takeout shop, and then gradually grew it. So when I decided I wanted to start serving hot food, I couldnt afford to put the exhaust ducts up through three floors of my home. So, we started off with a charcoal grill in the backyard. That was our first hot turnout station and the waiters would go down through the basement and out the backdoor and pickup the food. And then we opened a little outdoor dining room in the summertime, sort of around the outdoor grill. And then we just kept building it from this little muffin shop into, you know, a five million dollar business, with two hundred-seat restaurant. But we started very simply and it was good because I was able to grow in a very organic way. I mean I didnt have a grand vision, it sort of unfolded more as I moved along, I got ideas and implemented them. So it was quite a success story.

Raymond Hansell
Yes it was, very big success story, especially for somebody who started with virtually no experience. Well you had the experience the ten years, but even when you started there you had no experience, you were sort of launched into that entire world.

Judy
Right.

Raymond Hansell
And now one of the things that you bring up in the book is a number of events that you held. Which I think serve to make your experience at White Dog very unique, and also for the people who were frequenting the shop, one of the events was the Martin Luther King Day. So can you tell us about that event and how it came to be in the first place?

Judy
Yeah, the White Dog became known for our special events. In the very first event that I put on was a dinner in memory of Martin Luther King, and Martin Luther King Day had just been announced as a national holiday, and so I decided that I wanted to celebrate it and have a dinner. And I can remember telling my mom who, I dont consider her in any way to be a prejudice person, but I was telling her that I was going to have a Martin Luther King dinner, and she said, well Judy isnt that a black holiday? And, you know, I was kind of shocked, you know, but I think shes just kind of an old fashioned person. Because to me I was celebrating a person that, Martin Luther King, who was probably for me my greatest hero, King and Gandhi, who King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. So anyway, I really wanted to have this event and I wanted it to be an event that Martin Luther King would be proud of, in that it brought together people from all different backgrounds. So I was very determined that the dinner would be at least fifty percent people of color. And we were able to achieve that through outreach and an African American minister and gospel singers and so on. Had a southern style dinner, menu, and Mayor Goode used to come to it during the years he was in office. He would come every year and he even a couple of years brought his mothers black eye peas cause he said that we could make black eyed peas like his mother. So, he used to bring a little tub of black eyed peas and share it at our table.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, I was thinking of your story in this situation. Yesterday we attended a media event at one of our other BetterWorldian guests the Pearl S. Buck Museum, she was one of the first people way, way back in the thirties, forties and fifties that was a big advocate for adopting children and helping people around the world really internationalizing even before the phrase became popular, passed away many years ago, but her legacy still lives on in terms of what theyre doing. And we got the latest update, and I was thinking, oh this is going to be interesting about our conversation tomorrow with Judy, because shes probably right in line with that same spirit. So, what are table talks? Speaking about events and how the restaurant was different, heres another really unusual thing, the concept of table talks.

Judy
Yeah, well my thinking was while people are gathered to meet, this is a perfect opportunity to discuss the issues of the day in a more planned way. So, we started a series of table talks. Which were dinners, like a prefixed dinner for thirty dollar, for you know, three course dinner, that and tip or whatever to hear a speaker on a relevant issue. So we might have, I remember when we first started having speakers on climate change back in the nineties. And we had speakers on public education, or environmental issues, foreign policy, about any subject you could think of, we would have speakers, and after dinner have a discussion. So its really, and then we also had what we called storytelling, it was real stories by real people to make sure, because the table talks were mostly authors and well-known people. And storytelling were ordinary people whos voices may not be heard, you know. Like having a talk on safe sex marriage, or elderly people, or ex-offenders in (unintelligible) jails. So, these would also be accompanied by dinner. So we did a lot of that kind of thing, of really building community and raising consciousness.

Raymond Hansell
Thats great. Now tell our listeners before we go to break, what does doing well while doing good mean to you and what should it mean to them?

Judy
Well, you know, a lot times, traditional business people feel that there is a separation between business and doing good. In fact, I was on a panel one time when one of the other panel members told the audience that his advice to these young professionals, was to do well first, to make your money first and then do good later. Give your contributions at the end of the year, or volunteer, whatever youre going to do after youve made your money. But theres a separation there, and thats why I got up and said the opposite, you should do well while youre doing good. That doing, separating making a profit from doing good is whats causing us the problems in the world. That our business needs to be doing good, you know, every day as you do well and that the two are not incompatible. And I felt that thats how it was for me, that the way that I ran my business, I did well, I didnt become super rich or anything like that, but I certainly I did well. And while I did good, so that, you know, every day you can be a philanthropist in the general sense of doing good for ones community.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, we had a, in our previous business we had a concept we called profits for people, and so we were, even when we had fairly meager profits, or virtually nonexistent, we started developing the habit of doing some good and giving back even back then. And now thats morphed into what we call our cause giving, which is something that a lot of our game players are familiar with. So were very, its very hard I think for people to start suddenly being generous, when they havent done so for many years. You just, its a muscle that if you dont use it, its not going to be there when you need it.

Judy
Right, exactly.

Raymond Hansell
So we agree one hundred percent. Were going to take a short break right now. When we return, well talk more with Judy Wicks, author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business. In the meantime if youre a fan of BetterWorldians Radio, please check out our game on Facebook called A Better World. A Better World encourages habits of goodness, doing acts of kindness, positive mindsets and giving back to social causes to make a positive difference in the world. Players actually do things like express gratitude, share acts of kindness that they do in the real world, send get well notes to real world sick children and more. And this month were excited to announce that our charity partner of the month in March is the Integral Heart Foundation in Guatemala. Were challenging our players to complete two hundred and fifty thousand good deeds in the game this month. When they do, well release funds to supply the students at La Academia meals for an entire month. You can find out more and play at Facebook dot com slash a better world. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Youre listening to BetterWorldians Radio. Were speaking with Judy Wicks, author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business. Now lets welcome back Judy and my co-host MarySue Hansell.

MarySue Hansell
Hi Judy.

Judy
Hi MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah, great to have you with us today. You know you wrote in your book that as a girl you denied all things feminine. But as you got older you realized the importance of feminine energy in business. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Judy
Sure. Yeah, I find this very interesting, the theme in my book that, you know, when I was growing up, I was excluded from the things I wanted to do the most, like playing baseball or taking shop because I was a girl. So, I got into my mind that girls werent as good as the guys, that girls were kind of second class citizens. And you know, when I wasnt allowed to play baseball, I decided well Ill marry the best baseball player, because, you know, I cant play baseball. So it was a really, and that made me look down on myself for being a girl and look down on other girls because I thought, I believed it, I believed the idea that girls werent as good as the guys, because you couldnt do these things. So, you know, its kind of the 1950s mentality. But as I grew and I got into business and so on, I realized that the feminine energy that I was kind of denying was really what made me unique in the business world. That, and I think that, you know, a farmer once explained this to me and I think its a really good way of expressing it, so Ill tell you what he said to me is that, good farming for instance is based on the balance of the masculine, which he identifies as being efficiency, and the feminine that he called nurturing. So, you know, when hes farming, you know, if he had too much efficiency and not enough nurturing, he might have a very well run farm, but he wouldnt have a good product, good tomatoes, or whatever. But, on the other hand if you have too much nurturing and not enough efficiency, too much feminine energy and not enough masculine that you might have great tomatoes, but youre going to go out of business, because youre not using your time in a wise way, and going about your business efficiently. So, you know, this got me thinking about how our whole economy is weighted toward the masculine, that its all about efficiency, and very little nurturing, you know, in our kind of hardcore mans world economy. And that my role really was to bring more feminine energy into the business world. To show the benefit, you know, to business of having this balance, just as my farmer recognized. And I feel thats something thats going on in the world right now, you know, today, that, you know, worldwide the masculine energies have repressed the feminine. And when I speak of these energies Im talking about, Im not talking about gender, Im talking about the masculine and feminine energies that are in each of us, men and women both. And how in our own lives theyre out of balance, which reflects on our culture and on our economy. And just as I, as a young girl tried to act like guy, you know, I tried to be proud, you know, I didnt want to play dolls and develop my nurturing qualities, I thought that was sissy stuff, you know, I wanted to hammer nails and hit the baseball, and beat kids up, you know. So, it took me awhile to transition from that, to you know, understanding my role, really, you know, to actually model feminine energy and that was something I would have never guessed as child. So it was my own evolution in a sense.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, I really believe that too in all my past careers I always felt that there had to be more of a balance of the feminine energy. And Im so thankful today that that is more of what were seeing. But it still needs to go much further, you know.

Judy
Yeah, right.

MarySue Hansell
Now can you talk a little bit about White Dog community enterprises and what inspired that and what its doing?

Judy
Yeah, well you know, at the White Dog Café as a profit making business, I could only go so far in the interests that I had. So I started White Dog community enterprises, our non-profit sister organization. So I would put my profits that I didnt need to pay off debt, you know, or send my kids to college, or whatever. You know, in fact I started this non-profit after I got to the point where my debts were paid off and my kids were through college. And it was sort of like, how much is enough? Well I thought I had enough, my mortgage is paid, and so on. And then I wanted to use my profits for doing good in my own community. So thats why I started White Dog community enterprises, and it was really most based around building the local food economy, and eventually the whole local economy, because thats what I saw the need for. So it really came, originated out of a turning point in my own life where the White Dog had built a network of local farmers that supplied us and I was particularly, cared most about where we got our meats from, because I knew of the horrors of factory farming of pigs, and factory farming of cows and chickens and so on, and the cruelty there, the total lack of nurturing in those factory farms, and its all about efficiency, like how little space can we give that laying hen, you know, how little light and air and food and water in order to get the cheapest egg possible. So I wanted to create a different economy by making sure that the White Dog bought from only farms where the animals were treated with respect and kindness, and raised on pastures and they have outdoors and social groups and so on. So this was something that I prided myself on, its what the White Dog was known for. But then I came to the realization that if I really did care about those farm animals, and if I really cared about the environment being polluted by the concentration of manure in these factory farms, and if I cared about the small farmers being driven out of business by these big industrial farms, and I cared about the consumers eating meat that had hormones and antibiotics and what not. That rather than keep these suppliers as my proprietary information, that I would actually share this information where I got my supplies with my competitors. And at first I thought, oh my gosh I cant do this, what if, you know, my sales go down, what if my profits go down, what if everybody started buying from local farmers and then the White Dog would be like everybody else, you know. So I had all these fears about it, so really my love for the animals and nature and community and so on, led me to make the decision to share with my competitors. So we made a, you know, a booklet of all the farms we bought from, and I started the non-profit Fair Food, and that was the first project of White Dog community enterprises. And our first director Anne Carlen, who now fifteen years later is still the, well sixteen years later almost, still the executive director. And her job is to go to the other restaurants in town and give them our little brochure, how to buy from farmers. Of course now, Fair Food is much, much larger, theres a Fair Food farm stand and so on. But thats, you know, thats how it began.

MarySue Hansell
Well thats interesting, I was going to ask you was the organic trend in those days, or is that something more current?

Judy
Oh yeah, the organic trade had begun. The local hadnt as much, you know, we had very few farmers markets and so on. But, organic was known, and our farmers, for the most part were not certified organic, I mean they were organic farmers, but the process of becoming certified was so stringent that they didnt bother. So for me, as long as like, business needs the farmer, (unintelligible), the farmers knew that the products were organic like, I didnt require certification.

MarySue Hansell
I thought that was just a wonderful thing you did there. Were very grateful for that. Anyway, what does it mean to be socially responsible? To be a socially responsible business and how did White Dog do that?

Judy
Well, it really comes down to how you make decisions. How a business owner makes decisions. And when you make a business decision, are you thinking of the impact of your decision, you know, on society, on the environment and so on. And thats what makes it socially responsible. And at the White Dog our mission was to be of service in four areas, serving our customers, serving our employees, serving our community and serving nature. So when I was making a business decision, I would think to myself, well how does this decision effect my customers, my employees, my community and our natural environment, and with all of them being important. So thats what really our mission was, so for instance, when I heard about renewable electricity, that we could actually renewable energy from our electric company, you know, they were developing wind power and so on, to make this available to people, you know, I jumped at that because part of our mission was to serve nature and to be able buy renewable energy is a really big deal, especially, it couldnt be more of a big deal now that climate change is being more understood. So, a lot of business people who may use profit as their major success, will say, well Im not buying renewable energy because its more expensive. But for me, because my mission was to in part serve nature, I jumped at the opportunity, oh my gosh, you know, we can now buy renewable energy, of course Im going to buy. So the White Dog became the first business in Pennsylvania to buy one hundred percent of our electricity from renewable sources.

MarySue Hansell
Thats amazing.

Judy
And thats how our mission was set up.

MarySue Hansell
Thats amazing. Is that how the whole idea of the Sustainable Business Network came about Judy?

Judy
Yeah, yeah, that was my next non-profit that emerged and was supported by the White Dog community enterprises. In the beginning it was actually a project of many, like the White Dog community enterprises, Fair Food and the Sustainable Business Network had their offices in my house, you know.

MarySue Hansell
Oh boy.

Judy
Yeah in different rooms there, and so, and Fair Food focused just on the food, on building the food system. But then I began to see that I was interested in renewable locally produced energies as well, and I was interested in, you know, locally made clothing, and I was interested in local retailers and all the other parts of a local economy. So I started the Sustainable Business Network as a way to, as far as I was concerned to spread the business practices, the socially responsible business practices that we had developed at the White Dog, you know, to other businesses. And to co-create in a sense, a sustainable and just local economy in our region. And so thats really how, that was really the emphasis behind starting what we call SBN, Sustainable Business Network, SBN.

MarySue Hansell
Now is that still available today and if it is, what is it up to?

Judy
Yeah. Really the goals of Sustainable Business Network was, still is, to build a sustainable and just local economy. And when I started, you know, I looked at, what are the building blocks that comprise a local economy? So, you know, theres food, theres shelter, you know, green building, theres food, shelter, clothing and energy are kind of the basic needs, but then theres a community capitol, independent media, and all these other aspects. And so, in the beginning I identified these building blocks and who are the leaders of these and thats how I formed my board, and so on. And today, SBN has over four hundred members and continues to build community amongst the businesses that use whats called a triple bottom line of, a triple bottom line is another way of expressing this idea of making business decisions.

MarySue Hansell
Yes.

Judy
And its not just for profit. So the triple bottom line is people, people, planet and profit. So that we make our decisions, we look at the impact on people on our planet, as well as, profit. And SBN continues to do that work to educate the members, to encourage consumers to buy local and to also encourage politicians. We have a policy committee, Im actually on the energy and environmental policy committee for SBN. So thats a new part of SBN today, to get more into politics, as to how we can, you know, we left out partisan politics, because thats against our, you know, (unintelligible). But, what policies do we support in terms of what is needed to build a sustainable local economy in the way of city and state policies.

MarySue Hansell
Well Judy youve had so many great ideas. I also knew that you co-founded Balle, could you tell us about what that is? And I know theres like over thirty thousand local and independent businesses involved.

Judy
Yeah, well, Balle stands for Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and I co-founded that in 2001, fifteen years ago, and were an alliance of business networks, local business networks in Canada and the United States. To which, local independent businesses belong. So its kind of a network of networks of businesses. And you know, our mission is to bring into being a global economy that is a network of sustainable local economies, where we meet the needs, the basic needs of all people. While at the same time protecting our natural environment. And thats the basic idea of it, and you know, a lot of the work that Balle does is around providing leadership training for local leaders who are doing this work at a local level. Were very much a bottoms up organization that we dont have a, were not trying to preach in a top down way, but rather we identify with the good things that are happening at a local level, local leaders who are building local economies in all different ways in rural areas and urban areas and so on, and how to connect these leaders so that they can learn from each other. And also just to highlight the best practices that these leaders and organizations and the businesses within them, practices that can be a model for others. So we spread the practices around North America and the movement that we all belong to of a building of a network of local economies where basic needs are produced at the local level, that our food, and energy in particular are produced locally. And thats kind of like the core of what Balle is.

MarySue Hansell
I love the next one that I was reading about in your book, the title, the circle of the aunts and uncles. It seems so homey, tell us about that and how that helped local businesses.

Judy
Sure, well this is a project I started after I retired from business. I sold the White Dog and so on, and then Im looking to see how best can I serve in my own community. And one of things I noticed is that many people my age, who have retired, are spending a lot of time going on cruises, traveling, whatever. And I think, gee, why cant we organize to do more good in our own communities. This is the time of climate change and growing inequality, so how can we, baby boom era citizens of Philadelphia do more to help build a more fair economy right here in Philadelphia. So, the circle of aunts and uncles is a project to provide what real aunts and uncles normally do in upper middle class homes, and provide this to entrepreneurs who dont have aunts and uncles who that might give loans, a low interest early stage loan, and also social capitol, of business and connections and advice and mentoring and so on. So we now have over thirty aunts and uncles who each put two thousand dollars into the fund, and we have over sixty thousand dollars in our loan fund, and we meet three times a year to meet entrepreneurs and make loans, anywhere from a thousand to twelve thousand dollars. So within a local ice cream company, like Weckerlys ice cream who buys all their milk from grass fed cows out in the counties surrounding Philadelphia, they use all local ingredients as much as possible, whatever fruit is in season, and they have really unique flavors. And we also give a loan to a Haitian American who has a boutique on Second and Arche and she buys from local designers, shes a designer herself, her mother makes the clothes that she designs. So we gave her a loan and then she, she buys clothes from local designers and she buys locally made soap and jewelry and so on and so by supporting her, were supporting kind of a local network of suppliers that supply here. And same with the ice cream company, were in a sense, helping the farmers who supply the ice cream company, and the ice cream company also buys fair trade chocolate, which is often hard to find.

MarySue Hansell
Oh yes.

Judy
Yeah and of course chocolate is notorious for using slave labor to grow the cocoa beans. So its very important to have fair trade chocolate and thats something we admired them for. And we also have a bread company Philly Bread, a local bread company, a really fine (unintelligible), we havent made a loan yet, but weve been mentoring him. And a lot of our work really is about relationships, rather than the money, that were really providing support and guidance and connections with all of our entrepreneurs, which we find experienced entrepreneurs in that field and connect them to a mentor whos right. And the aunts and uncles themselves are not necessarily experts in a particular field, although some may be, but we might know some one, you know, a friend who has retail store that might be willing to mentor our nieces, we call them nieces and nephews, you know, the entrepreneurs that we help. And, so thats the way it works, so its fun, you know, its building community and were really co-creating with these entrepreneurs the economy we want to live in, so.

MarySue Hansell
Now Judy I was going to ask you if some of our budding entrepreneurial listeners want to know about where to find the circle aunts and uncles, where should they look?

Judy
Well, you know, were still working, this is still a fairly new project, so were still working on our website.

MarySue Hansell
Okay.

Judy
And the woman whos working on our website is having a baby right now.

MarySue Hansell
Oh okay, then well just have to wait a little bit longer then.

Judy
You know at some point, we do have the url, I think its spelled out the circle of aunts and uncles or just circle of aunts and uncles dot org. We havent started to use it yet, its not populated, but it will be within a few months, so.

MarySue Hansell
Okay.

Judy
Once she is able to get back to it.

MarySue Hansell
Okay, well then you can just let us know and well pass it on to our listeners when that comes about.

Judy
Yeah.

MarySue Hansell
You know people are still very curious about the White Dog Café, and we know you sold it, but with some important stipulations and could you tell us that you ensure that the White Dog will continue all the values it was founded upon?

Judy
Yeah, well you know, when I made the decision to sell the restaurant, it was just time for that, its a young person business and I did my time in the sixties, I realized it was time to sell it. And I was very concerned that the values associated with our name, White Dog Café, be maintained. And it just so happened that the trademark for White Dog Café, the federal trademark came up for renewal as it does every ten years, and when that happened, I transferred the ownership of the name White Dog Café from the corporation into my personal ownership. So, it was separate. So I sold the Café, I sold the corporation, but I did not sell the name. So I own the name White Dog Café and now I license that name to the new owners of the White Dog, who went on to start two other locations, and so in order to use the name they have to abide by the social contract that requires them to purchase from local farmers, use renewable energy, use fair trade chocolate, sustainable, sustainably caught fish, and so on, and all these various practices that we developed at the White Dog must be maintained in order to use the name. And theyre permitted to start other restaurants as long as the principal owner lives within fifty miles of that restaurant. So its cant be a national chain that has no local ownership. And this agreement goes on for fifteen years after the sale of the restaurant, so after a fifteen year period the new owners would own the name as well.

MarySue Hansell
Oh I see.

Judy
But Im hoping that by then, what I asked for in our social contract will become mainstream. And certainly buying from local farmers is now really expected for many restaurants that are considered to be a foodie restaurant, you kind of have to buy from local farmers in order to be considered a serious restaurant. Thats actually come about, so I think even if there werent a requirement from local farmers, most likely, the White Dog would, you know, continue to buy from farmers. And I hope by then that fair trade and renewable energy and other things I asked for will also become so apparent that everybody will want to do it on their own.

MarySue Hansell
Now Judy for our very last question, I wanted to ask you how do you hope your work and your building a more compassionate environmentally sustainable and locally based economy is helping to make it a better world?

Judy
Well, you know, to me certainly the most important aspect of my work is just the concept of how we make our decisions and I think its so important to have this balance of head and heart, and to really lead with our heart, you know, that when we make decisions, whether its a business person or an investor or a consumer, that we make our decisions, our economic decisions in a way that protects what we love, what we care about. So like most people we love our communities, we love nature and animals, we love our children and hope for a good future for them. So when we really open our hearts in this way, we awaken our hearts to what we truly treasure and care about. Then well make the right decisions because we understand that all life is interconnected and that what we, the decisions we make will effect us and effect those we love and care about. And that, it matters how we spend our money, it matters if we, you know, use renewable energy or we buy fair trade chocolate or all these things. That we can create the world that we want by our choices every day, and if we make those choices with an open heart, then well create a better world for ourselves and for the coming future generations.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, thats an amazing answer. Weve heard that kind of answer given by probably eighty five or ninety people, and thats one of my favorites so for our listeners I hope you enjoyed it. This has been a great episode of BetterWorldians Radio. You can learn more about Judy Wicks work by going to Judy Wicks dot com. Judy thanks a lot for being a part of our BetterWorldians Radio program today.

Judy
Youre welcome Ray and MarySue. Bye-bye.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, thank you.

Raymond Hansell
By the way if youre enjoying this episode of BetterWorldians Radio, please be sure to subscribe to our show on iTunes and give us a great review. Were always listening to your feedback, so let us know what you think. As we end our show, we share our BetterWorldians mission with everyone. We strive to make the world a better place by encouraging the very best in everyone. We focus on positive thinking, positive values and positive actions. In short our vision is to bring out the BetterWorldian in everyone so that we can all make it a better world. So until next time, be a BetterWorldian.