Green Door Initiative launches their Tech Hub
In mid-February, I had the opportunity to visit the Green Door Initiative for the official launch of their Tech Hub. Green Door Initiative is one of 22 locations throughout Detroit where Connect 313 is working with organizations to create community Tech...
Investing for Non-Profits
Here at NEW the financial services team gets questions about financial best practices for nonprofits regularly in our work. This post will focus on best practices for nonprofits who have experienced a surplus of cash - what’s the best way to use these resources? One...
HOLD ON TO HOPE
Fatigue and burnout can get in the way too. Certainly, the last three years have taken a toll on most of us. For me, it feels as if 2020 has been one long, perpetual year that won’t end. Three (3) years later COVID is still here (recently joined by the flu and RSV). Extremism and strife within our political systems persist, our democracy feels fleeting. Nonprofits are still clamoring for resources that should be flowing to them and the communities they sit in.. Not only is the work challenging, our collective and personal mental health is weaker. Our physical bodies and minds are exhausted. We are in an existential crisis. The mission, vision, and core values of our country, its states, and our sector are in shambles. And, so too, I believe, are our personal commitments to them.
HOW DO YOU TACKLE A PUZZLE?
As you can imagine, their puzzle collection is massive. It literally spans decades – some of the oldest I’ve seen date back to the 1950s. They’re a record of intergenerational connection, a time capsule. When working on one, I can imagine aunts and uncles as children, touching those same pieces, while their parents (our grandparents) worked beside them.
Who Controls Meaning In Evaluation?
If the word success begins to sound weird after reading the sentences above three times, well you’re not alone. Each person who answers will likely have different responses. It’s also likely that they’ll each interpret the questions differently, as well. Even with consensus on the definition of success, the range of experiences between people may prevent us from defining the group experience as successful.
YOUR VALUES OUGHTA COST YOU
As NEW always has, we’re placing our values directly at the center of this process of expansion. Our values were central as we reflected on our needs to thrive and grow. They were central in our community engagement and design processes, and now in the first architectural drawings. And they are central in our fundraising practice, too. We’re “walking the walk” as we enter into a fifteen million dollar ($15M) campaign to expand our programs and evolve our physical space. As we do, we invite you all into the process with us.
WHAT’S ON OUR HORIZON
Thirty (30) years ago, philanthropists in Washtenaw County envisioned an arts incubator in Ann Arbor. Their aim was to help drive economic stimulus in the downtown area. The building they landed on was in an old warehouse district heading out of town. They wanted to offer rent below market rate and spur the economic activity in the nearby community. And in the thirty (30) years of NEW’s practice, we’ve been successful in doing just that.
SEASON OF ADAPTATION
With the start of NEW’s fiscal year on July 1st, I’m reflecting on “adaptation” as a word to carry us in this transition. As a team, we’ve come together to learn from our community and grow in myriad ways. By sharing our journey, we hope you find a spark that proves useful in your own work. Or perhaps it will inspire you to share the ways you’re adapting and welcoming new opportunities.
A PAUSE FOR POETRY
Few things have the power to inspire visions of a just and thriving society like the arts. And the NEW team has a special fondness for poetry. Since April is National Poetry Month, we decided to share some of the poems that are resonating with us in this moment. We hope you find something worthwhile in them yourself. Enjoy!
FOUR STEPS TO CHANGE
At NEW, we’ve been trying to understand and unpack the harms rooted in our sector. This includes the ways marginalized peoples are ignored, exploited, or discounted. In doing so, I’ve had the chance to think about how I have contributed to these harms. I’ve been asking, “In what ways have I, as a facilitator and practitioner, reinforced white supremacy culture at NEW? In my relationships with clients?” I’ve been especially interested in our evaluation and feedback practices.