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Category Archives: President’s letter

May 6, 2022
Posted Under: President's letter

I looked out my window today and the leaves were just at the moment before they unfurl – the moments of anticipation of summer captured on every branch and in every green blade of grass poking up from the brown ground. The backdrop of snow-covered peaks and valleys crusted to a hard sheen by the sun. Soon enough we will be in full summer mode – grabbing every hour of daylight to restock our freezers, replenish our minds, and renew our spirit so that we may be ready for another season. I am ready. Are you? As I literally watched the leaves uncoil a little more, I wondered how this translates into our nonprofit spaces? Summer can pose interesting dilemmas in Alaska workplaces. Personally, I gave up long ago believing… Read more »

Apr 12, 2022
Posted Under: President's letter

Have you ever had the experience of thinking something and then suddenly it’s in every conversation and everywhere you look? I’ve been having that experience lately. So, what is it? Actually, it’s the effort to name a state of change and the very real experience of living “in-between.” Certainly, there are many people who live their whole life “in the hyphen” of their experience – meaning they are actively living in two or more cultures, two or more personas, or two or more roles. And I believe right now, and throughout the pandemic, we have all been living in this space. This in-between time has many names and many ways to navigate. Some years ago I was introduced to the word “liminality” by a friend and mentor Richard Evans. Liminality… Read more »

Mar 9, 2022
Posted Under: President's letter

Our nonprofit economic impact report is ready for you to use when you speak with policy makers, or do your own planning, or understand the world around you, and our goal is to create ways for you to use it as if it were your own. We’ve found that sometimes when we share our report we run straight into myths about our sector and our work. It can be hard to know how to respond in a way that feels strengths-based, relationship focused, and at the same time informative so the conversation can shift to a more productive place. To that end, below are five of so many myths about nonprofits followed by possible responses to get you unstuck in these sticky conversations. Myth: Nonprofits are all the same. Myth:… Read more »

Feb 7, 2022
Posted Under: Advocacy Nonprofit News President's letter

Our work in nonprofits is full of paradox. One of those is about how we grapple with data. On the one hand, we lack access to or capacity to get enough data to be as effective as we always strive to be, and on the other, we are awash in lots of data but again lack enough context or capacity to do anything meaningful with it. Something we often see in the latter case is that boards, especially, are bombarded with data but in essence have little information. Over the years, we have committed not only to gathering data but also to providing education and support to turn that data into knowledge that can lead your organization to strategic action. The “data to action trajectory” is our gold standard. With… Read more »

Jan 10, 2022
Posted Under: President's letter

I heard a piece on the radio the other day stating that one of the reasons we feel such a strange relationship with time since the pandemic began is because we are not creating as many memories. Of course, there was more to it than that, but it got me thinking back to a favorite question I’ve posed to nonprofit board and staff members during the last two years: “Looking back on this time, what do you want your leadership footprint to be?” A leadership footprint combines how we each show up to our work from a place of deep beliefs and core values mixed with the positive actions we take that are bigger than ourselves. It is about the future. It is about impact. It is about the conscious… Read more »

Dec 13, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

As we close out the year, I am reflecting on where we have been – from life-quakes to the Great Resignation –  and considering what comes next for our workplaces. Join me. Life Quakes – That’s what we called the personal experiences we saw all around us in the early part of the pandemic. Isolation, despair, divorce, job loss, the childcare crisis, isolation of the elderly – this list is inadequate in naming the cracks and chasms that appeared over the last two years. We watched as this slow-motion disaster ripped through our lives at breathtaking speed – rendering time almost irrelevant and eliminating the boundaries between our personal lives and our daily workplace experiences. Staff meetings were now in our living rooms, makeshift offices in our bedroom, and on… Read more »

Nov 15, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

Oh, November! You sneak up on me every time. November is that month when the rush takes full hold of me as I frantically try to finish all my projects for the year. It is also the time when I want to savor the new snow and the impending joy (and, yes, bustle) of the upcoming holidays. Here at Foraker, we have some exciting projects on the verge of launching this month and next. We’re putting the finishing touches on them and look forward to sharing them with you. For now, though, I want to get a jumpstart on the season by sharing the top five reasons I’m grateful for the nonprofit sector. Let’s call this the Nonprofit Gratitude List. No nonprofit gratitude list would be complete without starting with… Read more »

Oct 8, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

Our approach every day at Foraker is to focus on strengths – strengths of the people, the places, and the missions we serve. Fault, blame, and shame have no place in our work as they rarely, if ever lead to resolution or learning. Instead, they only serve to polarize and shut people down from learning the very thing they set out seeking. It is, then, with a heavy heart that we are listening, watching, and reading the blatant anti-Semitism, racism, anti-LGBTQ, anti-science rhetoric happening in Anchorage. We recognize or perhaps just hope that this is a fringe set of voices designed to drown out the vast majority of people who are too upset, distracted, or eliminated from the conversation to hear their voices in what should be a civil public… Read more »

Sep 12, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

Is it ever enough? This is the question that drives me, haunts me, inspires me, and motivates me more than any other question in these times. I feel it most acutely as I watch and read and learn about what is happening around the world and in our own country and in my community. I feel it as we enter into this next phase of the pandemic and acknowledge that this is not a temporary way of life like many of us thought in 2020, but a way of being that is likely to be measured in years not months. What can I do? How can I contribute? Where will it matter? Is any of that enough? I feel these questions bubbling up for me about my own actions, and… Read more »

Aug 11, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

Earlier this summer we asked you to help us better understand the landscape we are operating in, especially in light of COVID. Surveys are challenging on a good day, but in a time of so many unknowns and the desire to truly know, I am sure the number of surveys in your inbox is more than you want to tackle. Fair enough. We are grateful to each of you who did take the time. We had a sufficient enough response that I think you all might find yourself in these results. Before we dive into the findings, I want to share a few thoughts that are not as obvious in the survey results but provide the emotional underpinnings of the results. Perhaps I can best sum up this emotional state… Read more »