Director’s Desk: August

I’m thinking a lot about change and evolution this month, as I write my last Director’s Desk message to the Neighborhood Partnerships community.

I’m excited for the future of Neighborhood Partnerships. In spite of the uncertainty in the world around us, brought on by a virus, failed leadership, and economic upheaval, NP is in good financial shape, has a strong and talented and capable staff, and an engaged and energized Board of Directors. Carlos Garcia is the leader that NP and our community needs right now. Carlos has a deep commitment to co-creation of systems, policies, and structures. He is passionate about working towards economic justice, and builds relationships that will help us move forward in new ways. 

It’s been an amazing fifteen-plus years that I’ve had the opportunity to be Executive Director. Even on the hardest days I’ve known that this job offered me the vantage point to help make positive change, to create venues to bring people together in new ways, and to learn from the experiences and work of others and help carry that learning forward.

A lot has changed in fifteen years. We’ve made a lot of progress and collectively we’ve had impacts that make tangible differences in the lives of thousands of Oregonians. We’ve learned more about how to work together to build movements and make change, and we’ve seen some amazing leaders emerge and push for changes we once thought impossible.

NP today is not the organization it was founded to be, and it is not the organization I assumed leadership of in 2005. We’ve changed a lot – and there’s more change needed.

There are still too many remnants of outmoded, outdated, and racist systems within all of our organizations. Many of us, myself included, who have been around for a while still find it too hard to let go of our assumptions about what’s possible. Decisions are still being made for communities without communities at the table. Some leaders seem incapable of learning to share power.

I know that NP is up for the change that will come in the next fifteen years. I’m excited to see what NP, and you, our community of partners, are able to build.  I look forward to seeing the changes you make together and the future you help imagine and realize. I won’t be in the middle of the change at NP in the years to come, but I’ll be eagerly watching to see what the future holds.

I have to end by saying thank you. Thanks for the partnership, for your engagement on issues that shape how our community grows, and for all of the ways that you’ve helped me learn and evolve. It’s been an honor and a privilege, and I am grateful for all of you.