Member's Memo | June 2021
This Memorial Day, I reflected on a message Tony Banout, Senior Vice-President of Interfaith Youth Core, shared in which he stated, "Hopeless remembrance too easily leads to embittered resentment. Memorialization does more than remember the past, it sets our eyes on a better future." This thoughtful perspective reminded me that those who sacrificed their lives to an ideal of freedom and justice for all, are memorialized by our actions to move closer to that ideal. Our action will also carry many who had no choice but were thrust into war and conflict without their own agency as the result of racism and poverty.
In this difficult and transformative time, focusing on hope gives us the strength to endure and the space to find solutions to some of the biggest challenges we have faced in recent history. As we begin to come back together, we recognize the joy and complication of our interconnectedness and emerge changed and determined to do things differently; to be more present in our lives, our work, with ourselves, and to be open to change. We need to intentionally commit to this. Let us commit to not returning to business as usual.
At our 2021 Annual Meeting on May 19th, Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, invited us to have "real talk" about the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and how policies built systemic racism amplifying those impacts. It was a policy that removed our Indigenous brothers and sisters from their lands and played a role in their genocide. Policy was used as justification for placing environmental hazards in poor Black and Brown communities leading to a national health crisis in drinking water, air quality, and housing conditions. We must engage in advocacy to help actualize just policy that ensures healthy, safe communities for all.
We are in a moment of necessary reckoning in our country, communities, and at Maryland Philanthropy Network. We must be committed to confronting our history and present in order to collectively build a safer, more loving, and generous future where every person can reach their potential. As a philanthropic community, we can play a role in making sure capacity is built with leaders to do that transformational work. Our responsibility today is to prepare the generations that are in the wings to take up where we will leave our community and country.
As we move towards that brighter future, Maryland Philanthropy Network will…
- Strengthen our organization to serve and lead our members in areas of philanthropic practice, advocacy and public policy, racial equity, diversity, and inclusion, member collaborations, skill-building and learning.
- Till the soil and work to dismantle unjust, inequitable, or burdensome systems and practices that do not serve us at the organizational, institutional, and systemic levels.
- Focus on learning with our members from our colleagues, partners, grant recipients, our detractors, culture bearers, and those with lived experience to make our work relevant and effective.
- Listen to and engage members, both meeting them where they are across the broad spectrum of philanthropy, helping them to learn, collaborate, and advance impact across Maryland.
- Act as a strategic partner to advance efforts, practices, and investments critical to Maryland’s success.
- Be grateful every day for the opportunity to work alongside our members and colleagues to prepare the ground for the growth of healthy and thriving communities across the state.
Maryland Philanthropy Network will continue to grow as the place where we build leaders who use all the tools and relationships at the local, regional, state, and national levels to build a better future for Maryland’s people and places. We will continue to be about collective generosity and action, learning and relationships, freedom and justice for all.
Maggie Gunther Osborn
President + CEO
Maryland Philanthropy Network
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