Tallahassee Democrat
“Trip abroad gives new perspective on history”
August 8, 2015
By Alyce Lee Stansburgy and Kelly Otte, Notes on NonprofitsAlyce Lee: I’ve got history on my mind. I recently returned from Spain where I visited a castle, cathedrals, convents, palaces, and an aqueduct all of which are hundreds or thousands of years old. I also celebrated my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary and enjoyed hearing their stories of how they met, what life was like for them as a newly married couple, and where and how they lived. Odd as it sounds, these experiences got me thinking about the importance of preserving the history of nonprofits. It’s important for organizations to know their history and share it with current and future generations.Take time to collect and display the names of the original founders, board members, donors and others who breathed life into your organization. Collect photos of these folks and write a paragraph about them. Create a chronological list of Board Presidents and Executive Directors. Some of these names may one day be utilized to recognize outstanding contributors or name scholarship funds, endowments, and other special programs.If you are fortunate enough to meet and interview your founders, ask them about the needs that existed when the organization was created. Ask them what challenges they faced, how were they addressed, and who played a key role in making things happen. It would be wonderful to ask former clients and recipients of services, as appropriate, how their lives were changed. Reach out to the earliest employees about the highs and lows of starting new programs.Collect old photos, mementos and written records to create a historical record that can be preserved and shared. Document important milestones so future leaders can understand what happened and why. Consider creating a real or virtual archive to share this information within the organization and with the public. Be sure new employees, board members and program volunteers are told about the earliest beginnings of your nonprofit and why so many people have invested their time, talent and treasure in making it a reality and sustaining it over time.I know these projects will be time consuming and require human and financial resources, but I believe it’s worth doing. We study history in order to learn from it, to avoid past mistakes, and to make the best possible decisions in the future. Generations will treasure this information and be grateful to those who took the time to document the past and help set the stage for a successful future.Kelly: As usual Alyce Lee made me think. From my founder perspective I thought about The Oasis Center for Women & Girls. Unbelievably, Oasis is eight years old and already has a history that needs to be recorded. I could see how it could become a huge initiative in the future or something they do now and keep up with. I also thought about it from my current Executive Director perspective. PACE Center for Girls has done a good job capturing history. We have founding member plaques and have boxes of scrap books and photographs. I did think of a good idea that I’m going to use right away for our next newsletter. I think an interview with a founder will be very interesting.Thanks to the Department of Children & Families for sharing the following information.At the White House Conference on Aging, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services unveiled www.Aging.gov, a new website designed for older adults, caregivers, and families to find government resources to age well.More than eight million baby boomers between the ages of 50 and 64 are turning to food assistance to make ends meet, a report* from Feeding America finds http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/our-research/senior-hunger-research/facing-hunger-after-fifty.htmlThe Annie E. Casey Foundation has released the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The Foundation’s annual research found improvements in child health and education, but the number of U.S. children living in high-poverty neighborhoods is the highest since 1990. One in four children in the U.S. lives in a low-income working family, and economic indicators are lowest for children of color. Data are presented for the U.S. and for each state, county, school district, and congressional district. Download the data book at: http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-2015-kids-count-data-book/I had the pleasure of joining Leadership Tallahassee’s newest class (33) at their opening retreat. There are several nonprofit people in the class including Audra Pittman, Council on Culture & Arts; Courtney Atkins, Whole Child Leon; Tiffany Baker, Florida Historic Capital Museum; Jim McShane, Career Source Capital Region; Paula DeBoles-Johnson, Volunteer Florida; Laura W. Johnson, Southern Shakespeare; and Valerie Wickboldt, James Madison InstituteSpeaking of Leadership Tallahassee, congratulations to all the finalists of LT’s 2015 Distinguished Leadership Awards. Here’s a special Notes on Nonprofits shout out to our nonprofit colleagues: Betsy Couch, Knight Creative Communities Institute, Finalist for Leadership Pacesetter; Jim Crouteau, America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Finalist for Leader of the Year; Nan O’Kelley, The Community Foundation of North Florida, Finalist for Servant Leader; and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give congratulation to Alyce Lee for being a finalist in the Leader of the Year category. Although she doesn’t currently work in a nonprofit her work with nonprofits makes her a defacto member of the clan.Thanks to people who have shared their Board Member Bully stories. Can’t wait to share them in an upcoming column. Keep them coming to notesonnonprofits@gmail.com.Kelly Otte has been working and volunteering in nonprofits for 30 years. Alyce Lee Stanbsbury, CFRE is the President of Stansbury Consulting and not too far behind in years served.Article: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/money/2015/08/08/trip-abroad-gives-new-perspective-history/31328727/