Our 40th Anniversary: An Opportunity to Reflect, Celebrate and Look Forward

Our 40th Anniversary: An Opportunity to Reflect, Celebrate and Look Forward


Jeff Clarke, CEO

Each new year is a time for reflection and celebration. Looking back, we ask: what went well and what didn’t? Why or why not? Looking forward, we ask: what did we learn that we can apply to the opportunities and challenges we see on the horizon? This year marks Philanthropy Northwest’s 40th opportunity to reflect and celebrate. The Pacific Northwest is a special place, defined by diverse cultures that share a set of values including generosity, humility and integrity. I’m excited about sharing your stories throughout 2016 and distilling our collective learning of 40 years, together with your good thinking, to frame and inform what the next 10 years of philanthropy in this place might look like.

What is Philanthropy Northwest? First and foremost, we are you: a place-based community of philanthropy that cares about equitable, inclusive and vibrant Northwest communities. Whether you are corporate, community, collective, family, independent, individual or tribal philanthropy, healthy communities allow us to do our best work — locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Second, Philanthropy Northwest is a member network, governed by you, with a dedicated staff to help you do your best work on behalf of the places, issues and people you care about. As a network, we are at our best when members and staff proactively and continuously engage one another. Together we work to strengthen the public good.

Looking back on 2015, we shared more of your stories, brought more diverse voices to the conversation, experimented with deeper forms of co-learning and, while maintaining the promise of a regional and national connector, proactively sought out new ways to localize your experience. You have consistently told us that we are moving in the right direction in our aspiration to always be an indispensable partner. As a result, our network is now at its largest size in our 40-year history.

Our work in 2016 continues and we will accelerate our efforts to advance your work of building equitable, inclusive and vibrant communities. We will continue to explore key themes of effective philanthropy, including:

  • Collaborating with stakeholders
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Innovation and taking thoughtful risks
  • Continuous learning
  • Mobilizing many kinds of capital
  • Building capacity in the social sector
  • Advocating for issues and organizations
  • Transparency and accountability

Our 2016 annual conference in Missoula, Montana, set for September 13 – 15, will be a time for us to reflect together upon philanthropy in a changing world and in our changing communities. Until then, we will continue to:

  1. Proactively reach out to better understand the opportunities and challenges through which you work every day
  2. Champion community philanthropy, philanthropic freedom and donor intent
  3. Share your stories of legacy and impact
  4. Create deep co-learning experiences that provide opportunity for reflection, build (and possibly rewire!) your networks, and are valuable to you at every stage of your career
  5. Consult with you to help you seize opportunities and navigate challenges
  6. Incubate projects, often in the form of complex collaborations
  7. Localize experiences while connecting the dots nationally and regionally

As always, it’s an honor to serve you. Together, let’s ensure that 2016 is our best 40th anniversary ever!