This week, I am struck by the amazing experience I had at the Council on Foundation’s Annual Conference in Chicago. The theme was Vision & Action – which certainly fits with what we do at Southwest Initiative Foundation.
My biggest takeaway was getting inspired, and one moment especially stands out for me. At the opening session, a group of children—from very young kids to teenagers—who are part of Soul Children of Chicago performed. Walter Whitman developed this world-class performance group with a single-minded purpose: to utilize music as the motivator and catalyst to inspire young people throughout the world to have faith in themselves, each other, and God. To this day, the group continues to serve the community as a nondenominational, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of our youth. Check out my favorite photo from the session here.
Their voices and music were incredible. At one point, they had everyone in the room—over 1,000 people—wave their white napkins in the air along to the music. It was so positive and so inspiring and set the tone for the whole conference, which included stories and philanthropy’s response to the issues of hunger and violence.
I came back so inspired. We have hard work to do but we also have this great opportunity to work with leaders across the country and right here with our leaders in southwest Minnesota. The issues are in the big cities, but we have them too.
And vision and action are two things that our regional community is in great need of this week as we face the aftermath of a devastating winter storm. Based on what I have heard, several of our communities from Luverne to Jackson will never look the same due to damage from this storm. Worthington and Nobles County have been especially hard hit, and we have initiated a response to assist with both short- and long-term recovery efforts.
SWIF has created a Nobles County Area Disaster Relief Fund. I encourage you to consider making a donation and sharing this link with your colleagues, friends and family. It’s our turn to set the tone for a positive recovery effort in our region. Let’s show our support to the leaders, residents, employers and organizations who need some inspiration as they continue working hard to get their communities back up and running!