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Looking Back, Looking Forward

2014-December 31
by Tracy Sawicki, Executive Director

I look back on 2014 with mixed emotions. Peter Tower's death in February gave some closure to the feeling that we were approaching the end of an era. There's this sense that we've lost something essential. I can't help but think of the great vision and care Peter and Liz put into building the Foundation to care for some of the least understood people in our society. We're fortunate to be able to carry on his great work, but it won't be the same without him. That said, Peter was a man of action; he wouldn't have wanted us to dwell.

There's been a lot to celebrate this year. We've gone all-in with our online grants management system, started a deep dive into the indicators we'll use to measure the impact of our work across our four grant categories, completed a major revision to our web site, belly-flopped into the world of social media, released our first annual review, recruited some new Trustees, and hired a new Program Officer. We've also made quite a few grants.

What's next for us? Since I started here four years ago, I'm told -- by staff and board alike -- that we've been going at a breakneck pace. We've made a lot of changes and started doing our work in new and different ways. That much sustained change is both exhilarating and exhausting, so we're going to take our foot off the gas in 2015.

I'm already getting a lot of flak about it, but I'm calling 2015 a "Year of Reflection." We need to take some time to make sure the changes we've made are working for us and for the people we serve. We need to finish developing our plan to measure community improvement in substance abuse, learning disabilities, mental health, and intellectual disabilities. We need to make sure that we're moving forward on our strategic plan. We need to help new staff and Trustees become familiar with the Foundation and its work. While they may groan at the title, the Trustees and staff are on board with taking the time to sit back and reflect.

Don't worry. We're not going to be sitting in our offices watching cat videos on YouTube all year. We have lots of grants to make (and monitor and evaluate), and we certainly intend to capitalize on opportunities to advance our strategic objectives. Reflection is a lot of work; it's just a different kind of work. It's introspective and not necessarily something that will be visible outside the office. We believe that after our Year of Reflection, we'll be even better able to support the important work being done in our catchment areas on behalf of the people we serve.

We look forward to working with you in 2015.


Photo by Estherbester
Flickr:  Estherbester / 1317549963
Creative Commons 2.0 Licensed

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