One of the people I admire is john a. powell. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan as the sixth of nine children, played basketball and ran track in high school, and ran track in college. He is a traveler, author, speaker, professor and the director of the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley. Southwest Initiative Foundation believes that dignity and belonging are core human values, and john’s work really aligns with this belief.
In an interview, he said, “The human condition is one about belonging. We simply cannot thrive unless we are in relationship.”
Southwest Initiative Foundation has formed incredible relationships over the last 35 years. The work has changed over decades as we flex, innovate and become what our communities and region need us to be. We’ve seen this as programs sunset, new initiatives take off, and challenges rise up and change our way of thinking and doing our work day-to-day. We need what each person brings to the table, what you have to offer. You are what makes this a special place to belong.
“The human condition is one about belonging. We simply cannot thrive unless we are in relationship.” john a. powell
Our relationships are something we’re celebrating as we mark our 35th anniversary this year. They’re also what’s leading us forward, into what’s next. Forged in an economic crisis, we’ve collaborated with businesses since the beginning. Those relationships paved the way for a new program we’re introducing to our region – and the state! The new Southwest Initiative Employer Resource Network® matches both short- and long-term economic development strategies for our communities, businesses, families and kids from cradle to career. You can read more about it in our newest issue of CONNECT.
Some of our closest relationships in the region are with our affiliate partners. I was lucky to help launch that program when I started at SWIF, and this year many of our affiliates had key milestones. The Hutchinson Area Community Foundation
endowment reached $1 million, a permanent resource for the benefit of community. The Madison Community Foundation marked its 20th anniversary, with grants totaling more than $625,000 invested across the community. After four years of fundraising and construction, the Darwin Community Legacy Foundation dedicated the Darwin Veterans Memorial this fall in partnership with local community organizations. And in this issue, you’ll find a feature about our partner the Milan Community Foundation and its creative efforts to engage our kids in community building. Hats off to all our volunteer advisory board members for their leadership in the region!
As I thought about becoming a part of Southwest Initiative Foundation more than 20 years ago, I knew it was the right fit when the complexity of all that SWIF does didn’t feel complex to me at all. In my mind, the work that we do is all connected by the underlying concepts of asset building and leadership development. Thanks for being part of this important work, and for being in relationship with SWIF. We’re looking forward to year 36 with you!