Hopey Changey

Most of us have heard the cynical question, “How’s that hopey changey thing working for you now?”

My answer, every time I hear or see it? Actually, it’s working pretty well.

What I Believe

If I focus on a small slice of my life (today, for instance), I might not have that response. It would depend on what’s on my plate today, how concerned I am about managing my finances, who’s on first and what’s on second. When I was younger, my parents warned me often that I was naïve and saw the world through rose-colored glasses. Guilty. I trust too easily and generally believe that people are good and want good. I believe that problems have solutions. Yes, solutions, with emphasis on the plural.

I believe in possibility.

I believe in second chances – and third – and sometimes fourth.

Naïve, rose-colored glasses and chances: This is the basis of my being. It’s how I’ve operated my entire life and career. I’ve come to believe that I have ended up where I belong, and it’s not through any plan that I’ve carried out. I have been on a one-step-at-a-time journey. I am painfully aware of what I don’t know, and how unqualified, by standard creators, I am for the work I do.

Not-for-profits’ Greater Purpose: Possibilities

As I journey through my career, I have come to believe that the job of not-for-profits is to find innovative ways to solve problems. Not-for-profits’ tendencies in modern times are to find safety and sustainability by subscribing to programs. Some of that is OK, as long as they serve the organization’s mission and vision.

I believe not-for-profits’ greater purpose is to rise above the rules and regulations (which are necessary to provide structure to civil society) and create new solutions. Possibilities.

To accomplish this greater mission, organizations must be able to rise above the “what is” of today, move past the hand-wringing and “oh me, oh my,” and create solutions for the future. Hope and change, creating a better tomorrow.

About the Author

Sandi Gerdes

Sandi Gerdes, executive director of Laura Baker Services Association, has a 30-year history of leadership in the disabilities community. A longtime advocate for choice, Sandi has developed numerous innovative service programs tailored to the unique needs of the individuals the organization serves.

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