Follow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Example of a Life Full of Service, Sacrifice 

Welcome back to The Sunstone Way. 

Martin Luther King Jr. has had a huge influence on my life, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day next Monday is an important time for reflection. 

I grew up listening to Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech – my dad had a recording of the speech he played nearly every day. We talked often about Dr. King’s sacrifices for and service to the country in his long struggle for civil rights – and that included much more than his death at the hands of an assassin. 

Did you know that Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his approach of nonviolent resistance to achieve equal rights for Black Americans? He spent his entire adult life working for equal rights, serving his people and making his country a better place. 

The American Dream 

The concept of equal civic and economic rights drove Dr. King. He frequently quoted the Declaration of Independence, arguing that all men – black and white – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Here’s a quote from the famous speech: 

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.” 

That dream includes more than the pursuit of individual success and happiness. Only by helping those around us, giving more than we get, can the American Dream truly be realized. Dr. King lived that philosophy. 

A Life of Service 

Dr. King preached the approach of peaceful demonstration – bringing people together to increase the power of his message. It’s estimated that 250,000 people were on the Washington Mall on Aug. 28, 1963, to hear that famous speech. They – and Dr. King – were there as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was one of the most impactful events in the Civil Rights movement. They were a community. 

Dr. King’s attitude of service included the country as a whole down to the individual parishioner at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. When someone called asking for his help, he came. 

He was in Montgomery in 1955 for the bus boycott. He helped organize and lead the Selma to Montgomery marches. He was in Memphis to support trash haulers when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. 

Dr. King wasn’t at any of those places to promote himself. He was there to serve and support his people, his community. 

Making the Connection 

What does all this have to do with The Sunstone Way? Our business model is based on service; it is how we enrich our communities, as I talked about just before Christmas. 

Clearly, Dr. King’s impact stretched across the country – across the world. Our impact is in our corner of the economic community. But we strive to follow Dr. King’s precepts. 

We help students become entrepreneurs by sponsoring the pitch contests that help hone their business ideas through the Sunstone Community Fund. We help early-stage entrepreneurs strengthen their startup businesses – that’s why we were a founding partner to start the Long Beach Accelerator. We help founders access critical government funds and other sources of capital to make businesses grow. 

Perhaps most importantly, an attitude of service, of helping, is part of every interaction we have across our broad spectrum of partners. I believe, as Dr. King did, that providing service is a basic part of the human purpose.  

As Dr. King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” I ask myself that every day. Let’s ask it twice next Monday. 

And as always, be a Sunstone.

John Keisler

CEO & Managing Partner

Sunstone Management, Inc.

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Note: This blog post is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer to sell securities or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities. Such offers are made solely pursuant to formal offering and subscription documentation in an investment fund (“Fund”).

More About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in diverse early-stage technology entrepreneurs who seek to build great companies. We believe in the aspirational power of the American economy to attract and inspire investors and entrepreneurs from throughout the world. We deliver new and exciting opportunities for economic growth through the creation of innovative public-private partnerships, and our unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. In the second quarter of 2023, PitchBook ranked Sunstone the seventh most active early-stage venture capital firm in the country, and 18th overall.

© Sunstone Management Inc., 2024

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