I want to devote this column to what I am thankful for as a board member.
The Native People Were Awesome!
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I was taught in school that the Pilgrims and the Native People broke bread to celebrate a bountiful harvest. I was also taught that the Pilgrims wanted to thank the Native People for helping them survive their first year on this soil. This was ostensibly the first Thanksgiving. That story is mostly a myth, one that overpowers the true story of how European settlers treated Native People. I say it is mostly a myth because I like to think the story illustrates the true generosity and openness of the Native People. So, I want to thank those early Native People who graciously helped the first Europeans – refugees seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity. I also want to acknowledge that the land I am on was the land of the Duwamish people.
Honoring the Spirit of Being Thankful
Regardless of the origins of Thanksgiving, I like the spirit of reflecting on the good things in my life. I am thankful for family, friends, my health, the beautiful Pacific Northwest where I live, and the privilege I have had to serve on the boards of so many great organizations.
I am thankful to all who give time, talent, and treasure to create a better world, where no one goes to bed hungry, where everyone has a roof over their heads, where a great education is available to all, where everyone can have satisfying employment, where the sick have care, where all citizens can vote and can vote easily, where justice is applied fairly, where the air we breathe and the water we drink are safe and healthy, where our land and our seas are strong and sustainable.
Staff: I am thankful to staff members who work hard and smart for less than generous pay, who spend time preparing board materials and presentations to help me in my role of good governance, and who honor their boards by seeing us as trusted thought partners.
Board Members: I am thankful to my fellow board members who volunteer their time because they believe in the work of the organizations they serve, who understand their responsibility to steward resources and set policy, and who ask thoughtful questions and provide respectful input in the spirit of their roles.
Donors: I am thankful to donors who share their financial resources and who lean in with humility, amplifying the expertise of staff and acknowledging the capacity of community.
Community: I am thankful to community members for their optimism in the face of what must sometimes seem as daunting obstacles. Your courage and the smiles of your children keep the rest of us going.