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Category Archives: President’s letter

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 »

Apr 9, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

Take a minute and picture your dream team – both board and staff. Got it? Okay. Why? Why are they your dream team? Is it because of their skills or their approach? Or their experience or their understanding of the world? Or their connection to mission? Or their ability to ask hard questions? Or their ability to get along? Or something else? Jot down a few thoughts. Now ask yourself: Does your dream team reflect your mission, the issues, the community, and the context in which mission and your larger cause operates in the world? The challenge for most nonprofits – maybe including yours – is that the answer currently is no. Addressing the challenge of creating a diverse team is an important part of our decision making tool, the… Read more »

Mar 11, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

There is a line often directed to nonprofits that has been circulating for as long as I can remember. It goes something like this: “If only nonprofits could operate more like businesses.” For sure this is said not to insult, but with the best intentions. But for those of us in the field, who take our role of mission stewardship seriously, the intention is lost because it implies that we are acting recklessly and in disarray while our counterparts have the proven model. I mention this because it seems right now, perhaps more than most times, we should share the way we run our nonprofit corporations and stand up as a model to both business and government. Let us not forget that the C in our 501(c)3, 4, 6, 12,… Read more »

Feb 7, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

We are taught to be prepared for disaster. As Alaskans we might understand that notion a little bit better today than we did in November after the earthquake, or again after the government shutdown in December, which was a different kind of disaster. We think we understand what it means to be prepared – that we know the consequences of a disaster. But, in fact, we understand them much differently when they happen to us and around us. There is rarely anything good to say about the disaster itself, but as we explored together in December, how we respond as Alaskans when disaster strikes, and specifically how we respond as nonprofits, is remarkable. After the earthquake I marveled at our sector’s response. And now again, I do the same. The… Read more »

Jan 8, 2019
Posted Under: President's letter

So often the end of the year is a time of reflection – looking back in order to look forward. Loving traditions, I don’t have to look any further than November 30 to seize my lessons for 2019. There were so many gems to choose from. I could take with me the stories of courage, determination, and sheer devotion to mission. I could draw strength from the stories of individuals around town leading in selfless acts with compassion – or stories of generosity like those of the Girl Scouts who I’m told ran out of community service badges because so many girls stepped up to lend a helping hand in the days after the initial quake. And with every aftershock in Southcentral Alaska, I am reminded that our sector –… Read more »

Dec 5, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

Like you many of you in Southcentral Alaska, I have a story to tell about the last few days – a story of incredible fear, deep gratitude, and an unexplainable combination of exhaustion and exhilaration. To say anything more specific is too hard at the moment. But over time, I and others will heal from this terrifying experience. What I can say now is that Alaskans responded in the most magnificent ways. So many of our government entities mobilized in moments. Our nonprofits responded without a pause. And individual Alaskans stepped in and stepped up to help each other. As a life-long Alaskan I knew the incredible power of our community, but until last Friday’s unimaginable test of our strength, I had not seen us all in action at once… Read more »

Nov 2, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter       Tags: philanthropy

Imagine a Sunday morning in 1970s Alaska. Two small girls are dragging a folding table, two chairs, and a sticky jug of lemonade to a neighborhood street corner in Anchorage. Cups and determination in hand, they set up shop for a long day of selling their lemonade at 50 cents a cup. What could be simply any other Saturday in any town is nothing short of a lifetime memory and the setting for a lifetime commitment. You see, I was one of those girls. And this was no ordinary lemonade stand. This one was set up to save dogs. Yep, with each purchase of one of those sticky Dixie cups of lemonade you received a handmade sticker with the words “Save Dogs” on it. And all that money? It went… Read more »

Oct 9, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

This month we are taking a moment to say YAY! We don’t do that very often. Okay, I think we’ve only done this one other time in our 18 years at Foraker – that’s when we launched our book, Focus on Sustainability, A Nonprofit’s Journey. So, for the second time we will pause for a moment and celebrate the launch of our new website. I hope you will take some time to explore it because, after all, we built it for you. First, what I hope you notice is it’s still us – serving as your support, your Partner, and your friend in strengthening your mission from the inside out. I hope you see yourself and what you want to do, whether it’s finding a network of support, or diving… Read more »

Sep 10, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

Change is palpable right now – from the world stage, to the national landscape, to our local communities, to our organizational front porch. We see change in large ways in recent headlines marking the passing of American icons like Senator John McCain and Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. And we see it in everyday life in our own families and communities. And, of course, our seasons are changing far too fast for most of us as we move into the waning summer days that feel more like fall with every gust of wind and change in leaf color. In eulogies and in daily life, in the confessions of great scholars, and in the ramblings at the water cooler, I am in awe of the constancy of change. Change can… Read more »

Aug 9, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

So many choices. So many great ideas. So much wishful thinking. We all have been in these meetings. It’s a real struggle to sort through all you are hearing and doing to get to the things that matter the most. Add the need to generate revenue, and the pressure can be overwhelming on a good day. So how do you choose which activity to run with? How can you be sure that whatever you choose will get you closer to not just more money, but more mission? Having a clear sense of your business model is certainly an essential step. But once you know if your mission is going to be primarily powered by earned income or charitable income only gets you off the starting line. Now you have to… Read more »