Dear Members: Our Next Chapter Begins With You

Dear Members: Our Next Chapter Begins With You

Kiran Ahuja

Editor's note: Earlier this month, Philanthropy Northwest mailed Membership Renewal Packets to our regional network members. Included in each packet was the following letterwith a roundup of this year's achievementsfrom our CEO Kiran Ahuja. 

Our next chapter begins with you.

Member engagement is central to Philanthropy Northwest’s work to promote a more resilient, equitable and inclusive future that honors our past, our people and our cultures regionally.

Since joining as CEO, I have been humbled by the depth and breadth of work you do to make a difference, and our network’s shared commitment to building healthy, vibrant communities.

It is a pivotal time for philanthropy: trust in government continues to decline, congressional budget cuts loom large and a changing climate is altering the livelihoods of coastal and rural communities. Amidst these and other challenges, people are looking to the social sector and our philanthropic institutions to lead.

To help you navigate a changing landscape, Philanthropy Northwest will continue to create the space and tools that support and encourage reflection, learning and collaboration.

A great example of this in action is our annual conference, which this year offered over 300 attendees representing more than 70 philanthropic organizations the chance to explore the challenges facing our communities and our sector.

Additional highlights from 2017 include:

  • Welcoming our second cohort of ten Momentum Fellows, and placing them in seven host foundations, as part of our pipeline program to bring diverse perspectives and lived experiences to our network and sector.
  • Inaugurating the National Rural Funders Gathering to better enable cross-country dialogue, peer learning, and connection between funders focused on rural philanthropy.
  • Establishing two new rural learning cohorts, for rural funders and rural nonprofits in Oregon and Washington, to facilitate the alignment and sharing of best practices in addressing the needs and opportunities of rural communities.
  • Launching our Democracy Northwest program as a resource for philanthropists seeking to strengthen democracy and advocacy, and better understand the proposed federal budget and tax reform, among other topic areas.
  • Deepening the inclusion skills and practices of our region’s community and place-based philanthropic institutions, including at our annual community foundation convening.
  • Authoring in-depth reports on community-based sustainability (Pacific Northwest Changemakers) and ways for increasing access to capital in marginalized communities (A Foundation Guide to Investing in Community Development Financial Institutions). We also published the sixth edition of Trends in Northwest Giving.
  • Providing practice expertise through consulting engagements with over 70 regional and national philanthropic institutions on a range of topics—including strategy, coaching, impact investing, equity and inclusion, funder collaboratives and organizational development.

Philanthropy Northwest is proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far, and what we aspire to achieve with you moving forward. For that reason, and more, I welcome your input on how we can deepen our relevance and impact as a network—and partner—helping you to reach your goals.

Every day, Philanthropy Northwest strives to live our values of equity, inclusion, learning and accountability. We also believe that we are at our best when we embrace the future as an opportunity to do more in collaboration with you.

Although I am only six months into my role, and have much still to learn, my sense of place and connection grows. I hope to visit with each of you and experience your local passions firsthand. Indeed, I’m looking forward to it.

There is exciting work on the horizon. But to have the most impact, we must recommit to our network and recognize our strength as a community. 

That’s why the next chapter truly begins with you—please renew your membership today!

Thank you again for your wisdom, partnership and support.