Meeting Dr. King’s Gaze
Meeting Dr. King’s Gaze

Meeting Dr. King’s Gaze

01/11/2024 by Andrew Fretwell
Arkus honors Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s vision for equity through supporting organizations that make his dream closer to reality.

Martin Luther King Jr’s statue in Washington, DC looks out imposingly. Upon what does this stone-faced paragon of truth focus his attention? Does it depict him as he meditates upon the Tidal Basin and his call for “justice to roll like water”? Maybe he would peer across the Tidal Basin at the Jefferson Memorial, condoning and condemning our third president —  condoning his declaration that “all men are created equal” while condemning Jefferson's paradoxical ownership of slaves.

I believe he gazes farther out; MLK beholds nothing less than the entire country, if not the world, to issue his eternal challenge: “What are you doing for others?”

What are we at Arkus doing for others? On a basic level, we serve our clients by empowering them with powerful digital tools to improve their operations. While that justifies our existence, it does not sufficiently answer Dr. King’s question.

MLK once said, “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  While he was referring to military technology in Vietnam, the enduring wisdom of his words can apply to any technology today, including software and CRMs. Since great tools should be used by those doing good, Arkus empowers those striving for impact over profit. As we approach a day that was designated to reflect on Dr. King’s impact, I want to recognize some incredible change-makers we work with who honor his legacy not just on a wintry mid-January Monday, but every day.

Association of Clinicians for the Underserved 

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.” — Dr. King, 1966, American Medical Association Convention

The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) is a network of clinicians, advocates, and organizations seeking to narrow the healthcare gap for those in our country struggling with poverty.

Group of supporters of Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU)

Image Credit: ACU LinkedIn 

ACU’s Executive Director, Amanda Peers, avered that “our community of health centers emerged from the Civil Rights Movement, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of a more just and equitable nation still helps guide the work of our network of vital safety-net healthcare providers today.”

ACU is a leading voice in national policy advocacy, provides technical assistance to its members, and provides training and support to create a more robust health center workforce. Arkus supports ACU in managing its membership portal and data management, keeping the ACU network active and engaged.

Habitat for Humanity Wake County

“We are here today because we are tired. We are tired of paying more for less. We are tired of living in rat-infested slums.” — Dr. King, 1966, Chicago Open Housing Movement

Habitat for Humanity is known globally for the good that it does, and no affiliate of Habitat embodies the tireless, divine rejection of housing insecurity like that of Habitat Wake County in North Carolina.

Family smiling with three young children in front of a home

Image Credit: Habit for Humanity of Wake County

Habitat builds houses and offers affordable loans to potential homebuyers who otherwise struggle to secure a mortgage. 

Jean, a Wake County Habitat homeowner shared about her struggles with the stigmatism of being a reformed former prisoner, and how Habitat changed her life, saying, “One of the things I’ve never been able to call myself is a homeowner…when those keys were finally placed in my hands, I had never been so proud of myself. And without Habitat I know I wouldn’t be here.”

Arkus supports Habitat Wake by enabling the successful tracking of loans (yep, they do that too!) for constituents like Jean, and orchestrating Habitat’s marketing efforts with Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (née Pardot) so their message finds the right person at the right moment.

Bottom Line

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.” — Dr. King, 1948, “The Purpose of Education”

Serving over 7,000 students across the country, Bottom Line has addressed the low college graduation rates of first-generation students from low-income backgrounds. Bottom Line was founded on the belief that students need a mentor and a guide during the college application process and throughout college to succeed.

Smiling people lined up in front of a wall with the Bottom Line logo

Image Credit: Bottom Line

Andrea Carter, Bottom Line’s Chief External Affairs Officer, said, “For over 25 years, Bottom Line has advocated for educational equity by ensuring that the right to a quality college education is accessible to the many, not just the few. As relentless allies to students who face systemic barriers in education, we’re proud to continue King’s ideals in the work we do each day.”

In 2021, Bottom Line received a large grant from Mackenzie Scott due to its unique success in lifting graduation rates and success in setting up students to graduate and achieve social and economic mobility through gaining meaningful employment.

Arkus is engaged with Bottom Line in modernizing its data organization around the newly unveiled Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud - simplifying its operations and empowering Bottom Line staff and mentors to focus less on Excel spreadsheets, on more on engaging with students.

Democracy House

"This will be the day when we shall bring into full realization the dream of American Democracy - a dream yet unfulfilled." — Dr. King, 1961, AFL-CIO Meeting

Democracy House inspires rising generations to defend, strengthen, and improve democracy by driving innovation in civic education and leadership, community infrastructure, public policy, and youth voter participation.

College Students who are part of the Democracy House program

Image Credit: Democracy House

Working with hundreds of college students to create room for meaningful dialogue that transcends partisan bickering, Democracy House advances the rapidly eroding value of civility over confrontation and mutual exploration over confrontation. Or, as MLK put it in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, to create a respectful tension that will, “help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”

Arkus supports Democracy House by supporting their advancement and communication data management and workflows for both grassroots and large donors to enable Democracy House to scale across diverse communities and geographies.

I, and Arkus as a whole, still have so much to learn and get right. But knowing that our expertise is in service of such incredible organizations infuses me with the fortitude to meet Dr. King’s gaze while standing before his likeness in our nation’s capital, and answer back, “Yes, we accept the responsibility to carry forth the torch you held so high.”

If you have any questions for the Arkus team, please reach out to us using our contact form.