Dear Servant-Leader,

I am blessed to know a great many wonderful people.  Some of them are people whom I see frequently.  Others are friends and colleagues whom I see only occasionally. Then there are a few whom I have never actually met, and yet I feel close to them because of years of shared correspondence and phone calls.  One person in the latter category is Lane Baldwin.

I first encountered Lane around 2001, when The Men’s Wearhouse began a special webpage called “Common Threads,” in which The Greenleaf Center was the first non-profit organization to be profiled.  At the time, Lane worked for The Men’s Wearhouse, and he and I had a flurry of contact around the creation of the Common Threads/Men’s Wearhouse webpage. 

Over the past eight years, Lane and I have had intermittent email exchanges and phone calls—mostly around servant-leadership.  His has been a consistently encouraging voice—and he is someone whose spirit I value.

Lane leads an interesting life.  He is a multi-talented person who simultaneously carries on three or four different careers as business writer and consultant (, volunteer and community activist (; and, as a talented musician (

Lane has recently created the Life with Spirit Foundation, which seeks to use servant-leadership principles to strengthen community bonds by bringing people together to serve those with the greatest need.  One of the exciting projects of Life with Spirit Foundation is Foodstock Charities, in Danville, Illinois.  The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership is honored to serve as a co-sponsor of their work, including a series of monthly dinners for those in need.

“All faiths teach that the key to fulfillment is our service to others,” writes Baldwin.  “This is our service to our community, our way of helping to make things better.  We can’t think of anything more basic, more necessary, than providing food for those in need.  And, it’s the best way I know to demonstrate servant-leadership in the community.”

Foodstock Charities began as a way for Baldwin’s band, Deeper Blues to commemorate the release of its first CD in 2008, Dig the Hole.  In 2009, Foodstock is going national, with concerts scheduled in several cities.

As I write this, I am listening to Dig the Hole.  Lane serves as chief songwriter, bassist, and vocalist of Deeper Blues.  The songs are reminiscent of some of the very best of Stephen Stills’ blues-rock.  [Longtime friends and family can attest to my now forty-year love affair with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young in their many different configurations, and of my concert visits to see them in the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s!]  If you are in the mood for new blues music, I invite you to check out the Deeper Blues website at

Dig the Hole CD Cover A talented writer on servant-leadership themes, I am pleased to include in this issue of Servant-Leader News an excerpt from a longer essay by Lane Baldwin titled, “Learning Servant-Leadership from Native America--Again.”  Those who would like to read the entire essay may do so by clicking on the link below.

Warm regards,
Larry C. Spears, President & CEO
The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership