November 21, 2011

From the Executive Director

Posted in From The Executive Director at 2:35 pm by Lund

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”
Henry Van Dyke

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”
Lionel Hampton

“If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.” Robert Quillen

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” Aldous Huxley

I could concentrate my column this issue on the greater than ever challenge it is to run a human services nonprofit in these times- greater need,  tough economic times that translate to fewer government and grant dollars, increased costs.  The worry that it will get worse before it gets better.  Surely, one could see my job through a “glass is half empty” mentality. Not only is that not helpful, but it actually makes matters worse and isn’t productive or useful.   Lund’s work and mission are more important now than ever before and children and families are counting on us to be there for them.

I prefer to think about the many ways that I am grateful for all the good that people are doing to help children thrive.  First, I must say, Lund would not exist if it were not for the incredible efforts, support, and work of so many people.

To recognize the “generosity of spirit” that makes Lund able to do what we do and have done for over 120 years, thanks to this generosity of spirit.

Thanksgiving and nearing the end of 2011, give me extra reason to pause, ever so briefly, as well as reflect on all that I am grateful for as the Executive Director of Lund.

I want to thank everyone who has been there for our clients and mission.  My gratitude to:

Our Volunteers: I am thankful for the more than 600 hundred volunteers who have donated more than 10 thousand hours to Lund during the past yearThat’s a lot of time and talent! Volunteers helped out in so many ways- reading to children in our child care, organizing activities for our residents, face painting at our adoption picnic, stuffing envelopes, planning and orchestrating our fundraising events, serving on committees, as well as helping in so many ways.   At times the work they did was less than glamorous- such as cleaning up after an event or washing dishes after a holiday meal for clients.  We are grateful to each of our volunteers for being there when we needed them and for helping to make a difference.    Your time and energy are a precious gift to us.  A special thanks to our volunteer Board Members.  This dedicated group of volunteers spends countless hours each year serving in their capacity as a board member, and frequently go above and beyond, volunteering in addition to fulfilling their board duties.   I have extreme gratitude for each of our volunteers making the time in their busy and full lives to make a difference at Lund.

Our Lund Employees: Day in and day out (and for many staff it’s night in and night out), holiday or not, Lund staff are working to help children thrive.   I am thankful for Lund’s 100 employees that go the extra mile, to makes sure families and children have the support they need.  Our staff is the heart and soul of Lund Family Center and every day I am proud to work with them.  Their commitment to our mission and work is truly remarkable.  I am grateful to our staff for their dedication, passion and hard work.

Our Donors and funders: This year, more than ever, I am thankful for the donors who invest in our work through financial contributions and the donations of goods and services. I am grateful for our corporate donors, foundation and government funders, the United Ways, and of course our many individual donors.  I am extremely grateful to the incredible groups that support us, including our PINS partner, the Charlotte Congregational Church.  To our many donors, whether you are supporting us through a grant, a monthly donation, a bike ride team, donating diapers, holiday gifts, or money, you make our work possible. We are grateful for your investment in Lund and for your generosity.   We for sure could not do what we do without your support. It does make a huge and lasting difference in the lives of children and families.

Our clients:  I am grateful, humbled and inspired every day by the people we work with.  I am in awe of the perseverance and determination of the families we are working with and the hard work that our clients are doing to help ensure that their children have a brighter future.  You are what drives me to do what I do.

Our Collaborative partners (from both the private and public sectors) – I am proud to work in Vermont where our colleagues care about the greater good and our community.   I am grateful to my colleagues who are such great mentors, advisors and resources.   My colleagues are some of the most talented, smart and passionate people I have had the pleasure of working with.   I feel blessed to know them and have such great role models.  We are lucky to have such a great nonprofit community in our state, as well as dedicated state and federal partners.    To our legislators in Montpelier and our Congressional Delegation in Washington, thank you for all you do for children and families in Vermont.  I cannot think of a place where I would rather be doing this work.

This Melody Beattie quote seems like a fitting way to end my column:
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

With my sincere gratitude and best wishes to you-

Barbara

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