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Category Archives: President’s letter

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 »

Jul 11, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

Seventeen-percent – that number represents the average of Alaska’s workforce that works for nonprofits. In rural and remote rural Alaska, it can be as high as 40%. Rarely is the sector talked about as an industry, but if we were, we would be the second largest Alaska industry based on employment – right behind oil and gas. The data is compelling for many reasons. One is the opportunity to look closely at what we are doing in the sector to both attract and retain this workforce. In 2006, Tom Tierney published an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review called The Leadership Deficit in which he articulated his view of our future as a sector. A key element of that future was a high turnover of Baby Boomers and a… Read more »

Jun 4, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

Happy Summer, everyone. I bet you were thinking: “there is no better topic to celebrate summer than tax reform.” Right? Well, lucky for all of us, this isn’t as much about the policy of tax reform as about what we need to do to follow the new rules and position ourselves differently for philanthropic success. So pour yourself a glass of iced tea, open the window, and let’s talk. When nonprofit leaders are asked about what their organization is doing as a result of tax reform, the common response over the last six months has been “nothing.” I understand how that can sound like the right answer, especially if you don’t have staff. However, you really can do things right now to adjust to the new rules. If you do… Read more »

May 9, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

Last week I had two inspiring and unexpected conversations. The first went something like this: “I love meeting one on one with donors and showing them the results of their investment .It is just so much fun.” The other one was: “It is so much fun to connect with potential donors who care so much about mission and help them connect the dots with their philanthropy.” What was interesting about these comments is that one of these people has been in this work for over 30 years and one is a month into the work. And, what they both know is that fundraising is fun. Consider now your own experience. Make a mental list of all the things you think are fun in the nonprofit sector and chances are that… Read more »

Apr 10, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

Alaska’s nonprofit sector represents a wide variety of organizations that provide public service and have an impact on the lives of nearly everyone living in the state. Although most Alaskans do not think of nonprofits as an economic powerhouse, you know that we play a critical role in the state’s economy both as major employers and as revenue generators. No industry in Alaska can prosper without the nonprofit sector. We provide both a financial and social return on investment by leveraging public and private resources. We are part of the healthcare, utilities, fisheries, and oil and gas industries, and provide essential services such as firefighting, early child care, basic utilities, housing, and food security — just to name a few. Nonprofits are the safety net across Alaska. Every Alaskan is… Read more »

Apr 10, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

The nonprofit sector is a fundamental component of a healthy democracy. We see the sector as the foundation for virtually all social and civil rights movements in our country. What starts as a grassroots voice grows to a movement and is most often sustained through the framework of the sector. The movements for civil rights, disability rights, women’s rights, and others all took hold in our sector. These issues continue to need our attention. They are amplified and joined now by new movements we recognize as #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, and in response to gun violence #NeverAgain, to name just a few. It is no wonder that the fastest growing classification of nonprofits is 501(c)4, which gives organizations more ability to lobby and advocate with a stronger voice. These issues generate hot… Read more »