Jim Thompson: Why do you support Positive Coaching Alliance?

David Weekley: I was involved with character activities as a youth—Boy Scouts, church activities and the like—and I have supported Boy Scouts for 25 years or more. I’m not personally a sports enthusiast but the country has become more focused athletically and more and more kids are involved with sports.

The hardest part for a nonprofit is developing the infrastructure to deliver its programs, but in sports the infrastructure already exists and you can simply overlay a character education process on it so it makes sense to invest in it.

In Houston, we were building a new sports complex and wanted a character overlay so we did a nationwide search looking for a proven program. We didn’t find any national organization doing this but we did find a niche player in Northern California called Positive Coaching Alliance that we helped bring to Houston.

JT: Why did you decide to support PCA beyond its Houston Chapter?

DW: Although PCA had a dynamic founder, it wasn’t clear that it had the mental openness and organizational ability to scale. Houston was a new format for PCA with a local board. I wanted to see if PCA’s leaders were willing to let go of some of the control required to make a success of a Chapter model. Once it was clear that PCA was mentally prepared to scale and that Houston coaches and kids embraced the PCA program, I jumped in to help develop a model in which new cities could start their own chapter.

JT: How do you sort through all the many organizations that ask you for financial support?

I have four screens:

  1. Is the subject matter of intense interest to me?
  2. Is the leadership in place to be able to scale the organization?
  3. Will my donation make a big impact on the organization?
  4. Will my personal involvement move the needle for that organization? I look for opportunities where my time, expertise and money can have the biggest impact.

JT: You now spend 50% of your time and 50% of your money in the nonprofit sector. How did you decide to do that?

DW: In 1992, I had grown David Weekley Homes to $200 million in revenue and realized I needed someone else to run my company to take it to the next level. I hired John Johnson and he took the firm to more than $1.5 billion so it was a good move.

I read a book called Halftime: Moving From Success to Significance by Bob Buford that hit me at just the right time and I decided to go 50-50, with half of my time going to my nonprofit interests along with half my money.

I’m still involved in the company with its vision, marketing, major moves and the like but I’ve made major changes to reorder my life so I could go 50-50.

JT: What is your hope for PCA?

DW: I think PCA can become a major institution in the cities it’s in across the country. There’s no reason that in 10-15 years PCA can’t become like the Boy Scouts or YMCA in every major city in the country. This country’s love of sports is not going to go away.

The need for character development, given the breakdown of the family and other challenges we face in our society, is not going away. PCA has the potential to have a major impact on our society!

 

JT: Thank you for your time and for the many ways you support the PCA Movement!

DW: Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in such an important effort. You’ve taken the input I’ve offered and trumped it. That is very satisfying to me—to see what you’ve done with the organization as it grows across the U.S.