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Category Archives: President’s letter

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 »

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 »