Article menu>>


Matt Beem
President, Kinetic Companies, Inc.

It’s about more than cookies

examiner logo
<SATURDAY, B 2008Saturday, January 31, 2009

Have you ever tried to keep a New Year’s resolution to get in shape while the garage is full of Girl Scout cookies?

Welcome to my world.

First, some essential facts about me:

  • Like most athletic kids-turned-adult, I skated through my twenties and early thirties unaltered by my penchant for sandwiches – of any kind – and sweets.
  • Those days are long gone; I’ll be 40 in July.
  • I love Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies.
And a few details about Kate, my wife:

  • She’s a Girl Scout troop leader.
  • This time each year, our garage becomes the holding tank for hundreds of boxes of cookies awaiting pick up and distribution by her troop of highly successful promoters.
  • Kate’s Girl Scouts sell more Thin Mint cookies than any other variety.
It’s a perfect recipe for temptation.
Late at night, when I’m hard at work at my computer, the Munchie Monster in my head quietly whispers: “Do you realize there are hundreds of boxes of Thin Mint cookies less than 50 steps away? Go grab one.”

Or after getting home from an early morning run at the YMCA, when my body needs protein but craves carbohydrates, he says persuasively: “Go ahead. Eat a few. You’ve just burned 500 calories.”

In such weak moments, I rue my fate as the spouse of a social activist and change agent. Like Kate’s work at our kids’ elementary school on behalf of Harvester’s BackSnack Program, her service as a Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocate and her job teaching children’s Sunday school classes, being a Girl Scout troop leader is more than an avocation. It’s one of the ways she invests in and improves her neighborhood and community.

For Kate, giving is never about titles or accolades. She always declines opportunities to serve organizations in high-profile ways that pull her away from the people she cares about and draw attention to her. I’ll pay a price for exposing her good deeds here.

But it’s a risk worth taking, because it illustrates an essential and timely point. At the heart of philanthropy is a constant that defines Kate and those you know who truly give: Their gifts of time, expertise and money are never about what they get from giving; they’re about what others receive.

Like the Girl Scout cookies in my garage. Plenty of Thin Mint junkies will feed their addictions with our inventory of goodies.

Yet as much as the Cookie Monsters out there may believe Girl Scouts sell cookies to keep them supplied, there’s a higher purpose. The annual cookie sale teaches girls to set and pursue goals and reap the rewards of a project successfully completed.

With its cookie sale proceeds, Bryant Elementary School’s Girl Scout Troop 1011 will trek to Omaha in May for a weekend overnight at the Henry Doorly Zoo. I’ll tag along to lend a helping hand.

Our time at the Omaha Zoo is sure to be fun. We’ll celebrate another successful cookie sale year and Kate’s committed, grassroots leadership, which made it all possible.

And, with a little help from the New Year’s resolution gods, I’ll pat myself on the back for successfully ignoring the Munchie Monster whispering in my head. Heck, I may even celebrate by eating a few Thin Mint cookies.

Matt Beem is president of Kinetic Companies, an international fundraising consulting firm. He lives in Independence.

> Matt Beem Bio