New & Noteworthy...
In my first letter to the whole W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation network I am writing to share exciting news. The foundation headquarters has officially returned to its roots in Chicago! Our new address and contact information follow this letter.
The entrepreneurship, tenacity, and optimism that were so evident in the life and leadership of W. Clement Stone is living in each of the Foundation’s current partnerships with bright committed leaders in early childhood, youth development, and education across the country. As I have studied each of the grantees, I have developed a profound and deep respect for each of you making differences in your communities through your efforts over many years.
Thank you for your relentless belief that by your daily actions children and families will see better lives, experience greater health and wellness, and reside in places richer in opportunity than there were before. Thank you for making countless connections and for finding was to create new networks across communities. I believe, as Dr. King said, “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” We have to continually work together to end patterns of racial and economic isolation that threaten the health of our communities. The extraordinary exclusion of certain groups from care and opportunity is robbing our country of the unique gifts and potential contributions of countless children. The national landscape, the ever-widening economic disparity, requires us to cultivate an atmosphere of belonging and inclusion.
To know people deeply and well takes time. Understanding that we are more than what is easily observed and easily described takes time. To believe that we can do this takes courage. Rilke says that, “there are quantities of human beings, but there are many more faces, for each person has several.” Your willingness to see and learn the children and families you serve is a radical act. Building healthy and just organizations in your cities is an act of transformation.
I believe that our survival depends on our ability to recognize our complex differences while creating a shared vocabulary that allows us to meaningfully understand the ways we are connected. The work we have in front of us is about simultaneously deepening our practice while expanding our notions of who our allies are in our most heartfelt efforts. In my role as steward and leader I am committed to helping create systems of shared resource and opportunity within and across the physical and political geographies we traverse. I am eager to learn from you and to share the work of building a community of practice focused on creating an inclusive society.
I look forward to our dialogue and to forging deeper connections. You can contact me at the phone number below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In, With, and For Community,
Tony Smith1100 Lake Street, Suite 202 Chicago, IL 60301 1-800-288-4859