Monthly Reflection: Hibernating or Gearing Up?

Monthly Reflection: Hibernating or Gearing Up?


February is often a time for hibernation and counting down the days to spring—unless you are an avid skier! Having grown up in Savannah, Georgia, I have limited experience with the snow and ice, let alone sports involving them. So, despite lots of inspiration from the Winter Olympics, from the huge gold-medal wins by U.S. Women’s Hockey and Cross-Country (skate sprint) to Jamaica’s first women’s bobsled team, the month of February was a time for our team at Philanthropy Northwest to plan, convene and reflect. Our efforts have yielded results, too.

Plan. We are putting the finishing touches on a three-year business plan that will go before the board this week. The plan sets out how we want to lead and support not only the organization, its incredible people and members, but also the sector at large.

Convene. It’s still early in the New Year, but we’ve already held a number of convenings on Census 2020. Why? Because Philanthropy can and should play an important role in ensuring an accurate and fair count of the U.S. population. Significant government and philanthropic dollars flow to states as a result of the Census. Depending on each state’s census count, it can also mean a gain or loss of representation in the U.S. Congress. Some of our members are already leaning in—bringing government, business, and community leaders together to ensure they have the knowledge, resources, and support for reaching hard-to-count populations in rural areas, and among Native and immigrant communities across our region. This work could not be more important, so if you are interested in learning more, please contact Meredith Higashi, Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy.

In mid-March, we also head to Washington, DC, for Foundations on the Hill, to talk with Congress and their staff about key issues impacting our sector and region, from Census 2020 to workforce development, homelessness and rural resiliency. The Philanthropy Northwest delegation is filling up, but a few spots remain—join us!

Reflect. Reflective practices are the methods that help you observe what is happening during challenging situations, make sense of what you see, and adjust your approach to get better outcomes. As our members and sector colleagues navigate demands internally and work to address complex problems externally, from ensuring bright futures for DREAMers to keeping  our children and young people safe, we’re pleased to offer a new, forthcoming report on Philanthropy’s Reflective Practices—a practitioner’s guide to helping you find the space to reflect and then make choices about how you show up and contribute to transformative work. For an advance copy, please contact Jan Jaffe. Otherwise, stay tuned!

While winter may encourage hibernation (and getaways to warm places!), I am proud that the Philanthropy Northwest team has leaned further into learning and growth opportunities—for our organization, our members and our sector. As the days turn warmer and longer, I look forward to springtime and the fruits of our labors continuing to flower.