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.
As I enter my seventh week as the Meyer Foundation’s vice president for program and community, I am delighted to share that things are off to a strong start and our program team continues to grow: Nadine Duplessy Kearns will join us as the DC program director as of April 9.
Following a multi-phased, nationwide search, I’m thrilled to announce that Terri D. Wright, Ph.D., MPH, will join us as vice president for program and community. Her first day will be February 16.
As we enter 2018, we wish all of you a happy new year. 2018 is a pivotal and important moment in our evolution as a country, a region, and for the Meyer Foundation as an organization. The two of us have a collective 25 years of experience working in philanthropy, and we have had the privilege of working with countless individuals and organizations doing amazing and tireless work to provide support to people who are persistently challenged by a lack of access to quality education, jobs, and housing. We have consistently been in awe of the commitment and passion our grantee partners display day-in and day-out, and know how many people’s lives have changed for the better along the way. Further, we admire the resilience of individuals and families in our region who are challenged by a constant flurry of efforts seemingly designed to ensure their failure. We recognize that, unless we shift some of our attention to addressing WHY so many in our region continue to struggle, we face a never-ending battle.
As we approach the end of 2017, we reflect on what a pivotal year it has been, not only for the Meyer Foundation, but also for our region and our nation. This year brought no shortage of examples illustrating how our country’s greatest challenges affect people of color at uneven rates, and our region is no exception. A recent study from Georgetown University, for example, reaffirms what previous research has shown: that the robust DC economy is leaving the city’s longtime residents behind.
The Meyer Foundation board of directors has selected two chief executives and their local nonprofit organizations for the second round of Julie L. Rogers Sabbatical Program grants. Launched in 2014, the program awards $50,000 grants to long-serving nonprofit executive directors to support sabbatical activities, compensate their organization’s interim management team, and provide professional development support for their organization’s staff.
On October 17, the Meyer Foundation’s board of directors approved $1,855,000 in grants toward efforts to build a more equitable Greater Washington community.
In an update this past June, I shared how the Meyer Foundation is moving toward fully implementing our strategic plan and further deepening our commitment to addressing structural and systemic racism. As that message suggested, it has been a busy summer at Meyer, and the work continues. I also shared at the time that, following the recent transitions of some of our valued and longtime staff members, the Foundation is in a unique position to realign and further develop a team that will support the goals and strategies of our strategic plan, as well as other urgent and evolving areas of work.
The board of directors of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, a private foundation in Washington, DC, has elected two new members for initial three-year terms: David Harrington, president & CEO of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce, and Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of New Virginia Majority.
In the early 1990s “Magic Eye” books swept the country and kept people’s noses glued to the page as they attempted to view the three-dimensional images that emerged from complex two-dimensional patterns. The pages were filled with diverse colors and forms. If you followed the directions and could diverge your eyes, an image appeared to jump out at you. But what of the rest of the colors on the page? After people saw the image, did they go back and see if they missed anything or consider how those other colors and patterns shaped the 3-D image they saw?