As a firm dedicated to a vision of a more inclusive and regenerative world, we at Cornerstone wonder, will humanity look back at this season of fear and be proud of how we responded? Will we appreciate those who gave more than their fair share to fight the pandemic? Will we recognize the synchronicity in which much of humanity comes together to observe traditions marking rebirth, recommitment to faith, family and community, and humble recognition of our role in healing the world?
As we observe the holidays of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan this month, there is another notable eternal connection between us. Abraham Lincoln’s death, marked in the Hebrew calendar, coincides with Passover every year. And Lincoln said, as if to us today, that “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” Have we learned the lessons from past disasters? Have we mitigated the destruction that this virus without borders has caused? Have we eased the spiritual and financial hardship descending upon so many people around the world? Can we move forward?
I am not content with failure. While we know we are in a global health crisis, and we are certainly in an economic crisis, we are also in a crisis of confidence … confidence in our governmental institutions, confidence in our financial institutions, confidence in our capitalist institutions. I am not content to stand by in this very special season and allow confidence to be forever lost. So, right now we need to use our traditions to begin to heal ourselves and our institutions, and to move forward.
So much of the symbolism and tradition across the three major religions describes the same events, just from different points of view. Passover is the story of freedom. It is the story of the liberation of body and spirit. With the storytelling come lessons of humility — the belief in something larger than ourselves. Passover marks our move from slavery to liberation. We commemorate the hardships and the miracles, and we move forward, celebrating our freedom with family and food.
Easter is closely linked to Passover, of course, not just by the (presumed) historical concurrence of the Last Supper with a Passover seder, by also by ancient symbols. As the Seder plate holds an egg to symbolize the cycle of life, rebirth, and renewal, in Christianity the egg became associated with the resurrection. And across the centuries, these stories have never lost the power to inspire the imagination of generations of humankind as we move forward.
And with Ramadan, we have another holy time for families. Ramadan is a time of rededication to core values. It balances the deep introspection of the long day’s fast with gatherings to strengthen the bonds of family and friendship. And what could society need more right now than the pillars of Islam, among them charity and philanthropy, tolerance, justice and honesty?
So, in this very important season, in these very dark days, we move forward. And to Cornerstone Capital Group, moving forward means maintaining our belief that confidence in the capital markets can be restored. That good governance is a proxy for quality. That a long-term commitment to sustainable and impact investing can provide positive social impact as well as strong returns over time. And most importantly, that investments must create solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, must drive innovative, resilient and inclusive growth. And we move forward.
On behalf of the Cornerstone family I wish you peace, health and a renewed sense of hope and determination,
Erika Karp, Founder and CEO, Cornerstone Capital Group