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Category Archives: President’s letter

Sep 11, 2020
Posted Under: President's letter

The work of change is loud and strong and in the street. It is also quiet and subtle and continuous. It is inside and outside. It is in a person’s head and body and soul and woven throughout an institution’s culture – glimmering in its people, practices, and principals. It is personal and collective. It is not about better or worse ways. It is not about ending or stopping but about starting and momentum. It is about the commitment to change. It will take all of us. Some things will be simple and obvious, but mostly it is hard, and it is worth it. We each begin this journey in different places so the idea that there is one way might be a good way to sell something or promise… Read more »

Aug 7, 2020
Posted Under: President's letter       Tags: gender pay

Now more than ever we face a multitude of challenges in our communities and our economy, and we know that not everyone is being impacted in the same way. Already existing disparities in economic status are exacerbated by the pandemic, and the same is true for the gender pay gap. Economists are now predicting that as women take on more responsibilities with children at home, the pay gap will widen. With that in mind, now is the time to reflect on what we can do to end the gender pay gap in Alaska. Our latest report specifically details pay inequity in the state’s nonprofit sector, and guess what? We have work to do – and we believe the nonprofit sector can lead the way. But first, a brief moment of… Read more »

Jul 8, 2020
Posted Under: President's letter

Accountability and responsibility are often used synonymously but responsibility is marked by two fundamental differences – emotion and depth of commitment. These differences can have a profound impact when it comes to making change. The way I see it, and the way we think about it in our Catalyst program, is that to be accountable is to understand all the facts of the matter but to be responsible is to feel and engage our emotions and our moral truth. To understand these ideas separately means that we can begin to understand how someone can be accountable to the truth without feeling the emotional weight of the responsibility to act based on the truth. Perhaps this compartmentalizing of accountability and responsibility has found itself at the center of very heated conversations… Read more »

Jun 10, 2020
Posted Under: President's letter

Talking about and even doing something about the very real challenges of diversity and equity in the nonprofit sector is not a new topic for us and for many others across the country. And yet, the challenges remain. When I became CEO five years ago, Foraker took an additional step to advance our work by making diversity and equity central tenants in our plans. While we have taken many steps, we are far from where we want to be and where our sector needs to be for lasting change. Still, we have endeavored to bring thoughtful leadership, compelling data, and a range of national experts on the topic to Alaska’s nonprofits to not only keep the conversation going but to incite true reflection and change. Admittedly we have struggled because… Read more »

May 6, 2020
Posted Under: COVID President's letter

Are you open? When will you open? Will you open? These are the questions I am asking a lot right now – not just for ourselves but for our whole sector. If only there were simple answers. Each choice is fraught with complicated choices that weigh both human emotion and financial feasibility against a backdrop of public health and political will. I reject the notion that we are choosing between public health and our economy because the health of our population is the essence of our economy. Still, I am aware that we have choices to make about how we move our missions forward in this landscape. Our nonprofit sector in some cases is just like every other business in regard to these three questions. But the answers and our… Read more »

Apr 8, 2020
Posted Under: COVID President's letter

Much will be written one day about this time in our lives. We are already starting to hear how this generation might be called the Covidials or the Coronials since the world as they know it (and we know it) will forever be altered. Social media is spreading expressions of hope that we don’t “go back” to whatever it was we thought was normal, because right here, right now, people are bringing the best of themselves to their communities. And through it all, our nonprofit community is figuring out how to navigate this new landscape in dramatically different ways – quickly shifting delivery methods, some temporarily closing to the public, and many choosing paths somewhere in between. I salute you. We are seeing acts of heroism from our healthcare workers… Read more »

Jan 8, 2020
Posted Under: President's letter

2020 – the year of perfect vision – the year of hindsight and insight. I could use all of that, couldn’t you? What isn’t there to love about more understanding and an opportunity to learn? I am a true believer in the learning organization, where mistakes are information – where we get to try and risk and try again – where we can get it wrong and figure out a better way. There are few guidebooks worth their weight that can tell us exactly how to be and act and do our work. In fact, much of the attraction of our work is that it brings together people who are willing to break the mold and try new things in order to get a better result for their communities. I… Read more »

Dec 9, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

December can be a mad dash – a frenzy to the finish line of the year. The intensity of holiday pressures to buy, consume, and engage are often compounded by the daily routines and year-end work pressures that for many already feel overwhelming. So rather than reminding you of your to-do list and encouraging the rush to the end of the year, I thought we could all use a reminder of what the quieter side of leadership looks like. Because sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to stop – slow down – and reflect. I am also inspired by this idea because we are nearing the eve of 2020 – the year of hindsight and insight. Seriously, how many times have you said, “hindsight is 2020?” The… Read more »

Nov 8, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

I am reminded fairly regularly that nonprofit folks are not very good at celebrating. The reputation of our sector is to reach a milestone, then put our heads back down and get right back to work. The norm of celebrating small wins or even big wins is lost on too many of us. A handful of years ago, I was reminded that even among members of the Foraker team, pausing to celebrate needed to become more a part of our culture. With a never-ending list of ideas, and a sector always hungry for more, along with my own desire to get to results, I had to make celebration a conscious and authentic part of our work life. It is not uncommon now to see us do a happy dance in… Read more »

Oct 10, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

When I was a kid, I didn’t like candy very much, but I sure loved Halloween. I loved the creativity of a handmade costume and the bonus of Alaska Halloweens that required an indoor version and an outdoor version that could accommodate my snow pants and Moonboots. I lived on a dirt road with few neighbors, so I also loved the thrill of going to the neighborhoods of friends and feeling that sense of community that neighbors bring. But truly, the best part was sitting “crisscross applesauce” in a circle at the end of the night with my friends and trading for the candy my mom loved the most. She always seemed so surprised and pleased at the same time – relishing the treats she loved but would never just… Read more »