At this time of year, we typically include a letter celebrating our accomplishments (new partners, exciting program initiatives, etc.). This year, I wanted to do something a little different. Of course, this is not because we don’t have a lot to celebrate (we most certainly do!) – it’s just that I wanted to use this space to share something I find even more powerful.
With 2016 came many new pressures for our network – hate crimes on campuses, record budget cuts both at the state and Federal levels, unprecedented political divisiveness, just to name a few. It was disheartening.
When I taught at the University of Memphis, there were times when I felt frustrated or defeated – that is just life, right? But it was never long before a student would stop me in the hall to tell me another bright idea… “I want to walk across Africa to raise awareness of the need for clean water…I want to save the Mesoamerica reef…I have an idea of how a mobile app could provide on-the-ground medical care in developing countries.” Real stories of people who would, correction, have healed the world. And any frustration I was feeling would vanish, almost magically.
A few days ago, as I was reading yet another article about the dire situation facing some of our academic programs, a moment of despair came over me.
And then, almost as if it were in response to my pain, my email pinged. I scrolled down and saw it was from Jordan Vernoy – one of our Certified Nonprofit Professionals (CNPs) from the University of Northern Iowa. He is a Vice President at Feeding America – an Alliance Workforce Partner working to end food insecurity in the U.S.
Jordan was letting me know about a new initiative he and his family have embarked on – they are creating a roadmap for families to use if they are interested in raising children who choose love over hate, compassion over intolerance. Learn more about the Vernoys’ plan with a purpose.
After finishing his blog, I looked up from my computer and I could see it – the ripple that happens when you provide a talented and passionate individual with the tools and network they need to make a difference. It was not just Jordan’s life that was affected when he earned his CNP – the ripple has reached hundreds of thousands.
Like so many of our CNPs, Jordan is a mild-mannered nonprofit professional by day – and a world-changing superhero by night.
So I smiled, despite myself. And my frustration once again turned into feelings of hope.
So here is my charge, if you are one of the many CNPs, like Jordan, who is transforming our world, please add your story to the CNP Impact Map. We will continue to highlight a new CNP in each Connections so that our entire network has the opportunity to share in the “mission glow” that comes from seeing our world, not as it is, but as it will be.
Thank you for taking this short journey with me, and I wish you a happy and prosperous 2017.