Every year has its unexpected elements, but our most recent fiscal year — which ran from July 2019 to June 2020 — was unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. It has affected the hearts and minds of our team, our partners, and the children and families we serve. And it has required us to regularly pause and discern what matters most.
From the way our staff and partners adapted to address the needs intensified by the intersection of powerful inequities (health, racial and economic) to pressing on with our strategic planning process, we sought to live our core value of collaboration in a way that met the unprecedented needs of our partners and communities. With our partners and fellow funders, we came together to support children and families — who will always be what matters most to us — and continue the work we all urgently need to address in ourselves and in our world.
One specific focus for us this year has been advancing racial equity. My parents never issued a specific statement about anti-racism, but they were very intentional in their efforts over the years to advance equitable opportunities for Black children and other children of color. To formalize that intention, we started our internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative in 2017. We knew we needed to more explicitly demonstrate our commitment to being anti-racist with both our actions and our words. Our entire organization — staff, Board and family — is fully engaged in this commitment, and the progress we have made in our own learning will enable us to help children and families thrive in the months and years ahead.
I want to express my deep appreciation to our Foundation team and our partners, all of whom acted with urgency, empathy and creativity to respond to the unfolding crises and the corresponding impact on the communities we serve. And on behalf of my entire family, I also want to express my gratitude to David Daniels, who last year assumed the role of CEO and President. He has worked closely with both my father and me, and he diligently seeks to honor my parents’ legacy while also meeting the evolving needs of our partners and communities. He is the right person to lead at this moment in the organization’s and our country’s history, and I am confident the direction we are taking will allow us to make a greater impact than ever before.