Looking back and ahead

“PS. the work that you did with [us] continues  – Governance is stronger than ever and conversations around DEI have become not so frightening to many” 

As we are now two weeks into 2023, it is a good time to look back on where our work took us in 2022 and ahead to 2023.

Looking back

One of the things Jon and I are forever grateful for is the opportunity to help worthy organizations advance their missions. In doing this work, we expand our knowledge of the issues and regions on which they are working. Of course, we are forever inspired by their dedicated board members, staff and volunteers.

Look sign on pavement of parking lotWe found ourselves enmeshed in planning work on food security. From food pantries/groceries to food system change, we facilitated projects with Aquidneck Community Table, Our Neighbors’ Table, Good Neighbors and We Share Hope. We provided strategic advice and coaching to Growing Places and Amenity Aid (hygiene products).

The advocacy and conservation  of environmental organizations are essential to our future life on Earth. 2022 brought projects with MassLand, Newport Tree Conservancy, and Warren Land Conservation Trust .

Promoting a better world for children, youth and families are our clients  Rhode Island Kids Count and Children’s Friend. We welcomed new clients The Autism Project, Shine Initiative, YouthBuild Preparatory Academy and Junior Achievement RI.

The arts, culture and heritage are such vital parts of our economies, community and mental health. The Cabot, Island Moving Company, and Jamestown Arts Center now have new strategic plans to guide them over the next few years. It was also lovely working with the Executive Director of Main IDEA and the board and staff of ArtsWorcester. And spanning heritage, the environment and recreation we enjoyed working again with Blackstone Heritage Corridor to build the path to a sustainable future. And last year was an on year for my class at Brown University, Management of Cultural Institutions.

We were excited to work again with Abby’s House (women/housing/homelessness). We finished strategic planning with Beautiful Day (refugees). We welcomed new clients Herren Project (substance use disorder), Latino Policy Institute (research and policy advocacy) and Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester (community health) and Association of Divorce Financial Planners.

Our work is never complete without opportunities to share our years of experience and knowledge with our philanthropic community and learn from them in return. I thank  One Worcester, Boston Facilitators Roundtable, Institute for Trustees at Essex County Community Foundation, Women’s Jewelry Association, and Social Enterprise Greenhouse for seeing that experience of value to others.

And of course, thank you to the many, many funders, donors, community members, government employees and more. We have so valued your advice. Learning and listening are rewarding parts of our job.

Goodbyes and hearty congratulations to our colleague (and son) Alexander Howard who left Cause & Effect in May to become Director of Development at the BSA Foundation.

Looking Ahead to 2023

We’ll still have work ahead wrapping up planning with our food security and organization development clients. We are very happy to consultant again with returning clients Salem AthenaeumInspiring Minds and Newport Tree Conservancy.

And yes, we will once again be on vacation in July and August, with more trips (and bicycle adventures we didn’t do last year, especially after Jon thought a great start to summer vacation was to get thrown from his bike and smash a scapula. Thankfully he is fully recovered and back on his bike) throughout the year to recharge.

Jon rotated off the board of Rhode Island Urban Debate last year. I’m still on the board of Community Libraries of Providence and am working with a cohort of environmental activists to re-start a fossil fuel divestment campaign here in RI. (Stay tuned).

As we learn from looking back and think of what lies ahead, this Monday we commemorate the work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. . And reflect that anti-racism is a pursuit and long-term commitment.

Among our favorite Dr. King lessons:  “it is always right to do what is right.” Politically it’s going to be a very bumpy ride for the next two years. Stay strong and courageous. Our country and planet need you and your good work now as much as ever.

Wishing you peace and justice in 2023.

Gayle signature


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