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Category Archives: President’s letter

Apr 8, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

I have always loved that we have different words for our seasons in Alaska. Our words reflect accuracy but with a touch of humor that lightens the fact that we are experiencing something wholly different from our friends in the Lower 48. For me as a kid, the season of “break-up” was all about hoping my boots had no holes to let the icy water run through as I navigated or sometimes purposely encountered large, melting puddles of standing water on the sidewalks, trails, and streets – all the while savoring the crunch of thin sheets of ice as they buckled beneath my feet. At this time of year, with more than 12 hours of daylight, an energy begins to stir encouraging us to do more, get outside more, and… Read more »

Mar 15, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

Onward. That was my word intention for 2021. We are doing it. You and me. We are finding our strength day-by-day. We are finding our grace and our gratitude to support ourselves and each other. Very little of it is easy. But day-by-day – you and me – it is happening. We see so much every day to be thankful for and to draw strength from, even as we know we are not yet through the storm. As I testified recently on the need for an emergency declaration bridge to carry us safely to a new normal, I reflected that this time is like being prescribed a seven-day course of penicillin but stopping on day three because we feel better. There is no science to support this act and the… Read more »

Feb 10, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter       Tags: strategic planning

For me, February is the month I think about in “almost” terms. Almost more daylight. Almost embracing the new year. Almost fewer super cold days. And now, almost one year since our lives shifted in the most dramatic and unexpected ways. It is easy to simultaneously feel the weight and energy of this time. This is also the month we have placed on the calendar to do things we should be doing every day – recognizing Black history as America’s history, and declaring or reaffirming our love for one another with a valentine. February has me thinking about the weight and energy of work we all have in front of us. The deep and continuous work to understand what equity means in our country and in our work, while also… Read more »

Jan 7, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

It is strange to start a new year with equal desires to take a nap and forge ahead, but that does seem to be the place that 2020 has left many of us. Our bodies and brains, mostly overwhelmed with the totality of what 2020 brought into our daily lives, have left us eager to move on and dig deep for the energy to do so. 2020 was so much of everything to everyone, but differently. It was sorrow and pain as much as it was learning and adapting, and as much as it was loneliness and connection. It was both a collective experience and one that could only be felt very personally. It was universal and it was targeted. Maybe this is true about every year, but the very… Read more »

Dec 7, 2020
Posted Under: President's letter

Holiday lights for Diwali, Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, and Kwanzaa – that is what I savor on an evening ramble through my neighborhood during these dark days of winter. They’re in the trees, windows, and roofs – inside and outside. Their sparkle lights my way both literally and in my heart. This year – the year that is so very different, the year that is like living in a snow globe that is forever in dizzying motion – I have noticed a few things about these lights. First, there are more of them, a lot more. Second, they were out way earlier than I can remember from years before now. Third, while they still bring me great kid-like joy, they also have me wondering more about how the people who put… Read more »

Nov 1, 2020
Posted Under: Advocacy President's letter

Are you feeling it? Are you hearing it? Election anxiety – it’s a thing. It might look different across the country but we are not immune in our great state. The rising rates of COVID infection are only exacerbating our collective anxiety. Overlay a reckoning about the deep inequities experienced in our communities not just by the ravishes of COVID right now but by historical trauma, and we have the perfect storm for deep and real anxiety. What we also know is that the collision of COVID and the election has something else in common: it takes all of us to participate and believe in the greater good for change to occur. If your anxiety is being stoked and you are having trouble finding the right things to say –… Read more »

Oct 9, 2020
Posted Under: COVID President's letter

We call these days “blursday.” They are endless and full, and one day bends and folds into liminal space. These are days where the virus has done more than bring isolation, death, and sorrow – it has revealed and exploited the deep inequities that already existed, and its wake only deepens our fears about each other and about the state of our nation. In this “in-between time,” we hold our breath waiting for the next revelation  that we know will come, and we are never sure from which direction. Will it be in the new way we respond to our work with agility and speed that we didn’t even know we had? Or in the new life of teacher-parent-worker that we never thought was possible but yet is happening? Or… Read more »

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 »