In the last of our blog series exploring All We Can’s values, Philanthropy Manager Jaipreet Kaur explores what integrity means to her.
‘Always help others. Be selfless, honest and take accountability. Do the right thing even when others aren’t looking, and always learn from your mistakes.’
This is what I call integrity. This is what my father taught me when I was a 10-year-old girl, and it’s something that I have never forgotten – in fact, he’s the reason why I do what I do. Having integrity is a pivotal part of life’s foundations, especially for someone who works at All We Can – as it’s one of our three core values.
Have you ever walked past by a homeless person and given them some money? That’s a good thing to do, right? I have. We do it because we are playing the role of the good Samaritan, and we’re being driven by altruistic intentions, which has left the recipient of our good gesture better off financially. But in reality, while we may have helped in the short term, we haven’t sought long term change, or really improved their situation. Martin Luther King famously said that ‘true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.’ At All We Can, we are inspired by these words – and seek the integrity of long term, meaningful change over short term gains.
Ever since I started working at All We Can, I started taking more accountability for my ‘good’ actions, and I’ve learned that I don’t always know what is best for others (reflecting on what my father always told me about learning from my mistakes). In fact, in order to be able to better respond to other people’s needs, I think that we as a society need to improve our knowledge and understanding of people’s situations, their challenges, and what they need.
And this is how All We Can works – with integrity. We put our partners’ needs first. Rather than dictating what we think they need, our approach requires us to ask the partners we work with what capacity support they need, how it aligns with their priorities, and the best delivery methods. These relationships are built on trust and transparency, which allows us to achieve far more than we could achieve alone.
20 years later and my father’s words of wisdom are still as relevant now as they were then, and more instilled in my mind than ever before. Integrity is something that applies to all aspects of life – from personal relationships to businesses and the workplace.
None of us are perfect and we will make mistakes, but we must learn to take accountability and become better. So the next time you see someone in need, rather than you assuming what you think they need – try asking them, try building that trust, try being vulnerable, try putting them at the centre of your intentions – and lead with integrity.