I never thought that in 2018, I would experience fear on the basis of being Jewish in the United States. And yet, just over a week ago, I was horrified to learn of the massacre of 11 Jewish congregants – Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger – at a temple in Pittsburgh. This, in the aftermath of the Nazi march in Charlottesville only a year ago and the biggest rise in anti-Semitism this country has seen since, perhaps, the turn of the century. I was also horrified to learn of the attempted massacre at a church in Louisville that, when thwarted, ended with the murder of two African-Americans – Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones – at a supermarket. And late last week, there was yet another massacre, this time of two women – Maura Binkley and Dr. Nancy Van Vessem – at a yoga studio in Florida, ostensibly for being women. Othering, in all its forms, has proven time and time again to be life threatening.
The day I was sworn in as a United States citizen is the single most important day in my life to date. Proudly holding the American flag in my left hand, I raised my right hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and all that she stands for. The right to vote, to choose our leaders, and to weigh in on issues affecting our lives is at the heart of what it means to be an American. On that warm August day almost two decades ago, I finally felt like a true American, able to fully participate in our democracy and contribute to our great country. From that day forward, I wake up every morning, asking myself, “what does democracy mean to me?”
Earlier this summer, president and CEO of Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), Lori Kaplan, stepped down from the role in which she has served for 30 years. In Lori’s total 38 years with the organization, her leadership has solidified LAYC as a nationally-recognized, award-winning youth organization. Her legacy as a leader, advocate, and trailblazer who has worked tirelessly to make DC and our region a place where all can succeed sets a strong precedent and a shining example for every one of us in the social sector.
We recently completed our first round of grantmaking for 2018 at the Meyer Foundation! On June 5, our board of directors approved 73 grants totaling $3,205,000.
The board of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, a private foundation in Washington, DC, elected James J. Sandman as chair and Charlene M. Dukes as vice-chair of the board at its June 5 meeting.
The Greater Washington region is a diverse community where immigrants, many coming from across our country's southern border, have made their homes and are woven into the fabric of our identity. We at the Meyer Foundation are deeply troubled by the separation of migrant children from their families.
I’m pleased to share with you a restatement of our strategic plan called Advancing Equity.
Aisha Alexander will join Meyer in the newly-created role of senior director for strategy and equity, effective June 4.
I’m excited to announce that Sonia Quiñónez will join the Meyer Foundation as the Northern Virginia program director, effective June 18.
As I reflect on my first two months at the Meyer Foundation, I am overcome with immense gratitude; gratitude because, as vice president for program and community, I have the opportunity to lead talented and dedicated colleagues into advancing a critical vision for the Washington, DC region.