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Latest news, alerts, and events.

Jun 10, 2019
Posted Under: Foraker News

The Rasmuson Foundation grants up to $40,000 to cover salary and expenses during a leadership sabbatical, which supports the personal growth or renewal of a nonprofit CEO or tribal executive. Consider nominating someone or plan to apply yourself. The deadline this year is September 15.

Learn more at www.rasmuson.org/grants/sabbatical.

Jun 4, 2019
Posted Under: Advocacy

A message from Foraker’s President/CEO Laurie Wolf:

As nonprofit leaders we make difficult financial decisions every day and are driven to do what is best for the communities and people we serve. We know that the essential services we provide, the gifts we create for our communities, and the economic opportunities that are derived from our sector all work because we do it as partners with government, business and industry, and individual philanthropists. No one operates in a vacuum, and we need each other. Even if your organization receives no direct government funding, each decision by our policy makers has an impact on the people and places we serve. This is Alaska – we are all connected.

When faced with a drastic budget proposal earlier this year, Alaskans spoke up and reached out to legislators to let them know what was important in their communities. While we still face some of the largest programming cuts in Alaska’s history, many are breathing a sigh of relief because the options were so much worse. This is just the beginning, though, and I encourage each of you to see public policy as an essential element of your mission. Whether it is standing up for the communities where you live, or communicating directly with your legislators, or getting involved to ensure a full and accurate count of every Alaskan in the 2020 Census, we strongly encourage you to get engaged.

In each message you deliver, we encourage you to dispel the myths of your work. Highlight how your mission is serving Alaska communities, and how we are part of, but not the sole solution, to the challenges that face Alaskans. I encourage you to be at the table for discussions and decisions so that decisions made about us are made with us. In this way, we can focus on building an Alaska that works for all Alaskans.

For those who have a partnership with government to deliver services in Alaska, this is the time to plan for a shutdown or delay in receiving funds – two possibilities that will have an impact on all of us. Of particular concern in the operating budget is the authorization for releasing Medicaid funds. Delay in approving this budget means delay in Medicaid payments for all providers. This will result in significant and serious consequences for every Alaska health and human service provider and those we serve.

We encourage you to understand your cash flow options. Talk to your financial institutions and your funders about options. And, certainly, talk with board and staff about options. This is not the time to just cross your fingers and hope for the best. There are simply too many Alaskans who depend on the work you do every day. We hope that the governor and legislature will avoid a shutdown. But regardless of what decisions are made, having a plan is simply an important tool for board and staff leadership now and in the future.

At Foraker we are proud to be the nonpartisan, nonprofit voice of our sector – telling the story of your incredible work every day. We endeavor to work closely with government at every level and in many ways. We are standing with all of you as we work to create and sustain an Alaska that works for all of us.

-Laurie

Jun 4, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

Rebecca and Laurie can’t resist a playground when they see one. Thanks, Sitka, for making our work days so fun in so many ways.

One of the many gems at our Leadership Summit was Vu Le sharing the idea of practicing “we-care” in addition to “self-care.” Our team at Foraker heard the idea of “we-care” and immediately adopted it – not surprising, perhaps, because it is all about giving and receiving support, which is a staple in our work. Support in this case can take many forms from gentle reminders, motivational support, planning, coordinating, or even jumping in and doing something together. Your team can define what “we-care” means for your workplace culture. And your choice should have the flavor of not just expecting someone to figure out self-care on their own, but rather of creating an environment where care in general is a high priority and a celebrated choice.

In that spirit and because it is summer, I offer the challenge and opportunity for us to support each other to get outside, find ways to relax, and practice some “we-care” and some “self-care” at work. True, it is an added bonus if you practice these things during your off-hours, but I am going to guess it is a touch easier to do that than taking steps during the work day.

I know working is about checking things off our lists and moving missions forward. Still, we can do those things better when we also remember that taking mini-breaks during the day makes us more productive, not less. It also has the added bonus of helping with other goals we might have like being happier or healthier than we are today.

Far too much evidence and data exist showing that our sector is notoriously unhealthy. We are hard to insure at any price that looks affordable, and our stress levels are through the roof. We often don’t think of ourselves as any less healthy than others. However, what we consider normal may only look that way because we are staring at our peers in the workplace and thinking they are just like us. The fact is there are likely few of us that couldn’t benefit from a little more “we-care” and “self-care” in our lives. I am certainly no poster child for low stress, but I do so love being outside. And I know the true difference that sunshine on my face, or a brisk walk or run, can do to shift my whole day for the better.

So, let’s give it a try. Here are ten ideas to kick-start our summer of “we-care” at work. Most are low or no cost, so no matter your budget size, staff size, or location, there should be something here for everyone. Feel free to comment on Facebook with your own ideas.

  1. Schedule walking meetings – or the appropriate mobility for each team member – down the street, around the building, etc. Build in five minutes when you get back to your desk to jot down commitments from the meeting.
  2. Buy some affordable folding or camp chairs and bring them outside your office – sides of parking lots still get sun – and get a quiet moment to think or catch up on email.
  3. Set up a monthly staff meeting or outing to celebrate mission progress, or understand the issue better, or just to take a break together.
  4. Find the garage sale guru on your team. Pool a few funds and send them to pick up exercise equipment people bought in the dark of winter that in the light of summer aren’t being used. Create a little space in the office – there is an empty cabinet somewhere – to set up your mini-gym. Hand weights, an exercise ball, or even a small stair-step machine can fit under a desk. Why not? (Added bonus, as we found in our shop, if one person has the equipment in their space, everyone else comes for a quiet visit).
  5. Pick a late summer day and hold a potluck featuring garden grown vegetables. No green thumbs on your team? Take a trip to the local farmers market together and get inspired. All you need is a crock pot or a salad spinner.
  6. Create friendly and voluntary monthly or weekly challenges for those interested. For example, who walks the greatest number of steps, drinks the most glasses of water, gets the most hours of sleep, engages in the most hours of laughter, or reads the most pages of a novel, etc. You get the idea.
  7. Create a book club or TED talk video club on an area of common interest – sit outside to talk about it. We just learned about one that is a 21-day challenge on diversity, equity, and inclusion that we are going to try out together.
  8. Schedule, and get it on your calendar, at least one hour a week to work on a mission-based project you simply love – no “have to” items allowed, just the ones that feel like “want to” and “get to” projects.
  9. Plant some flowers by your office entrance or ask the gardener among you to bring in a few colorful stems for the front desk every few weeks.
  10. When passing by a playground, don’t hesitate. Just stop and play. I promise, it is still fun.

So that’s ten. There are so many more. What are your summer “we-care” ideas? There is no better day than today to start practicing them. This winter we heard, and saw, and felt the weight of all that is impacting our work these days. As a sector we are faced with attacks on our budgets and missions by the proposed and compromise state budget. And we are likely in for more uncertainty if the state moves into a shut-down plan as has happened in our recent past. We have heard and seen so many personal stories of challenge this year, especially as the impacts of generational shift are felt on our families and ourselves.

And yet, in the midst of all of this, I have seen tremendous moments of support offered and received. I watched 500 people recently come together at our Leadership Summit to learn, laugh, and offer ideas to show more gratitude. And while there will always be more to do, we can, and we must, make time for the “we-care” and the “self-care” to keep going. Our summers are short. So let’s commit together to a healthy step. What will you do first?

May 16, 2019
Posted Under: Training

We are teaming up with the UAA Department of Economics and Rasmuson Foundation to bring philanthropy researchers to Alaska. Join us, in person, or online to hear the latest research and learn how you might apply it to your fundraising strategies. The last two lectures in the series are scheduled for the following dates:

  • May 22: Does Fundraising Create New Giving? Join in person in Anchorage or online.
  • June 28: Fundraising through online social networks: A field experiment on peer-to-peer solicitation. Join in person in Anchorage or online.
May 15, 2019
Posted Under: Foraker News

For more than a decade, we have provided an array of organizational and leadership development services and offered some limited executive search services. We are now bringing those offerings into a comprehensive service called Transitions: Search & Succession.

In this new service, we see leadership transition as an opportunity for positive change. We are scaling up to help nonprofits across Alaska to navigate both planned and unplanned transitions for key leaders in your organizations.

All of us at Foraker look forward to seeing how the new search and transition service will benefit your organization as your key leaders make their next move. We are committed to not just standing beside you, but to being your valued guide along the way.

Learn more here.