One Year Later: Our Commitment to Showing Up with Humility, Courage, and a Spirit of Collaboration

Nov 17, 2023

Dear Friend,

For most of us, the end of the calendar year is a time for reflection and looking ahead. But this year, at least, thoughts of reflection and resolution are happening a bit early for me.

This fall marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of my tenure as President and CEO of the Community Foundation and of the launch of Fairfield County Forward — our strategy for creating a region where every person has an equitable opportunity to thrive.

And as I look back, the past 12 months have been a period of tremendous change in our community — and at the Community Foundation.

We’ve launched the Fairfield County Equity Lab, the Community Equity Incubator, and a Black Maternal Health Initiative to eliminate the region’s vast disparities in health outcomes for Black mothers and babies. We’ve collaborated with our business partners to explore alternative pathways to career opportunities for young people and to develop a collective blueprint for future investments, initiatives, and partnerships to improve youth career opportunities and our regional economy.

We’ve joined you in advocating for affordable housing, for creating a more equitable education system, and for successful bills that will improve health and make it possible for more of us to vote.

Perhaps most importantly, in just the past two months, nearly 500 of you, including nonprofit and business leaders, elected officials, community members, and advocates have joined us at events “in community” to advance our shared goals and collective vision.

Fairfield County Forward challenges us all to continue to show up every day with that spirit of humility, courage, and partnership. It requires us to be authentic, to listen, and to use our respective platforms in ways that uplift and elevate our community and address our region’s most pressing challenges.

You’ll see this work in action in our exciting new Impact Report, which invites you deeper into the community to learn about some of the remarkable people and organizations that are leading change in Fairfield County. There, you’ll see stories that reinforce our belief that those closest to the challenges hold the key to the solutions.

And you’ll find more of these stories on every page of our new website, which makes it easier to learn about the issues and get involved.

The site, which we launched earlier this month, reflects the clarity of vision necessary to advance equity as well as the boldness and promise of that mission. It’s designed to connect you to information, people, and resources that can help you make a difference.

I’m thrilled to cap off our first year together with a flurry of new programs and events; an inviting look back at what we’ve accomplished together through our Impact Report; and a website that captures the purpose and momentum of where we are headed.

In the spirit of being an individual catalyst for a stronger and more equitable region, I invite you to share this information with members of our community who may not yet realize that regardless of what issues they care about most, there’s a path for them to support our collective efforts.

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, we’re truly ready to drive Fairfield County Forward – together! And for that, I have profound gratitude.

In Community,

Mendi blue paca