As many may know, this is my last year to write to you while serving at the helm of The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF). To write to you summarizing and reflecting on our community’s successful and ambitious collaboration. To write to you reminding you of the work yet to be done, and why your support means so much to so many. Congratulations! We have discovered how each and every contribution and gift, no matter how small, has altered the trajectory of so many lives. Providing shelter, affordable, safe housing, a new job, an educational opportunity, or a permanent family.
During this tumultuous and often painful season, nevertheless it is also a time to honor our traditions, our faiths and cultures, our memories of our loved ones, our families, our friends, and our hope for peace.
I’d like to emphasize the importance of the boldness, skill, vigor, and guts that weave together NCCF’s mission. Indeed, as I step down from my role as Executive Director, I am most proud of NCCF being selected to receive the prestigious and highly competitive 2023 Moxie Award for boldness in business in the nonprofit category. I am supremely proud, however, of the response of 450 corporate and business leaders who applauded my affirmation of the need for us to take care of each other, and our communities. They responded by saying “WE see you.”
NCCF has endured for over 109 years since our modest beginning as an orphanage in the District of Columbia, because we have always embraced change and progress. In my nearly 33 years, I have endeavored to create a culture of radical but responsible change. It is an important part of my legacy as a leader, an aspect that makes me feel humble and honored. As my family raised our children, I have grown from a parenting professional to a grandmother looking forward to more time with the youngest members of her clan. Many of you have heard from me, “the mother,” throughout my transition to this place of personal generativity.
We served over 53,000 children, youth, and their families during this past year. In the midst of the continuing crisis, this number grows. Every year we rejoice, because as a community, we did more, we gave more, we helped more, and we used more of our resources to ensure that people moved from the worst days of their lives toward a better future. We did this; you did this. Together we did this, because we had the MOXIE, the nerve, and the savvy needed to make change happen. We took risks, we had the energy to persist, and in such a way the community reflected the sheer resilience of those we choose to help. Children, youth, and families combatting the terrific and vicious impact of poverty, abuse, maltreatment, discrimination, disabilities, and health and housing disparities.
As I close this letter, I want to thank you from the depth of my heart for all that you have given and that you may give again. Please continue to have the courage to touch, to see, knowing the sheer joy and excitement that our youngest express when they are loved and nurtured. They show us how great life can be, despite the disappointments and betrayals, and they show us how they feel with every chance we allow them. Our mission is driven by the community’s heart of connection; this does not keep people out, but rather brings them in.