The Path Forward

Finding Hope was the theme for the 2022 Gala and going forward in 2023. It’s also my personal goal this year. I recently had a conversation with someone, and they asked me how do I know if I’m finding hope? What does it mean for my physical and mental health?

Dwelling in possibility and gratitude and recognizing what’s good around me helps me to focus and see a path forward. Recognizing the community of support – everyone pitching in as they are able – provides strength and focus as well.

This year, as an organization, we have some heavy lifts so we can continue Miss Baker’s legacy for the next 125 years. I firmly believe that we have the resilience and the resources to make that lift. I am blessed to be surrounded by intelligent, committed people who want to do what it takes to move this organization forward. When I first took this position in 1997, my motto was “Together, we can.” It continues to be the message I come back to in challenging moments. Each of you is a member of that community. Each of you acting on our behalf will ensure we can continue into the next century of support. This year, our challenges are:

1. Ensuring the Minnesota legislature passes the Caregiver Stabilization Act of 2023.

Here’s what it will take to make that happen: Every one of us, each of you, taking a few minutes regularly from now to the end of the session (May) to reach out to Minnesota legislators and ensure they hear that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve their attention and support. Please visit, where you can spend no more than five minutes sharing your message.

Do it once, and then do it again. And again. And again. (I’m not kidding …) Until we tell you the bill has been passed. Open our emails, click on the link and send your message. If you’re not on our email list, please sign up. Or go to the link and send your message. AND ask others in your network to do the same!

Legislators I talk with consistently tell me they don’t hear about this issue, which means they don’t feel a need to prioritize it. Help us make sure they hear the message. EVERY VOICE MATTERS.

If you have questions about the need and the why, call or email me; I’d love to have a conversation with you. I’ve talked to many of you who don’t think you need to do this, or that your voice doesn’t matter. We won’t get this done without you. This is URGENT and IMPORTANT.

2. Attract and retain a minimum of 20 more full-time direct support staff members so we can reopen our closed houses and operate at maximum capacity.

We’ve raised our wages three times in the last two years (a total increase of 65%) without any significant increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates. If you have questions about how this works, please contact me.

3. Raise $750,000.

4. Expand programs to further diversify our revenue sources.

Family Navigation Services. Housing Support Services. Behavioral Support Services. Creative Arts.

You, the community of listeners and supporters, give us hope. Please continue to raise your voices, to encourage people you know to join our workforce, and give as you are able. Spread the word on our new programs. Together, we can. ❤