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Category Archives: President’s letter

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 »

Sep 11, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.“ – Henry Ford We know now that several important items in the state budget survived a second veto by Governor Dunleavy. Still, some critical programs sustained significant cuts. Those include: Public Broadcasting ($2.7 million), Ocean Rangers ($3.4 million), Medicaid ($50 million), Adult Preventative Dental Medicaid ($27 million), Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery Grants ($6.1 million), Adult Public Assistance ($7.5 million), Nome Youth Detention and Treatment Facility ($2 million), Village Public Safety Officer Program ($3 million), Alaska Marine Highway System ($5 million), rural airport maintenance ($47 thousand), and fund capitalization of the Community Assistance Program ($30 million). And even these numbers don’t tell the whole picture. For example, experts estimate that when considering the loss of matching funds… Read more »

Aug 7, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

Nonprofit leaders often joke, in that not funny way, that the work nonprofits do is the best kept of secrets. We tell each other this as if saying it makes it better. It doesn’t. This is not a new revelation, of course. Over the many years, we at Foraker along with you have tried in many ways to rise from obscurity and tell our collective and individual stories. Collectively we have walked the line of making the story just enough about us to be noticed while keeping the emphasis on the work that happens in our communities because we exist. To that end, there have been human interest stories rather than headlines about how we mitigate and sometimes even end human suffering, how we propel the arts into the public… Read more »

Jun 4, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

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… Read more »

May 13, 2019
Posted Under: Leadership Summit President's letter

Thank you is the best place to begin. Thank you to all of you who made space in your life to show up and be present for two full days of the Leadership Summit and to those who took the extra day to come to our pre-conference classes. Thank you for stepping in and stepping up to comfortable and uncomfortable conversations. Thank you for making space to laugh and connect and learn and dance. Thank you to our sponsors that walked alongside us to offer travel scholarships and keep two days of powerhouse presenters affordable and available to the sold-out house of just over 500 attendees. Thank you to our enthusiastic and all-in board members who hosted breakfast roundtables and lunch time conversations and breakout sessions. Thank you to staff… Read more »