By Tamara Lucas Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
At one of our Annual Meetings a few years ago, WRAG gave each attendee a button that read either “Influence,” “Innovate,” or “Inspire.” We felt those words captured our purpose. Our mission is to improve the lives of people who live, work, and play in our region. We can’t do that directly – our job is to promote philanthropy that improves lives – but, indirectly, we can have an impact if we influence, innovate and inspire WRAG members and partners. Looking back after 12 years, I believe that WRAG – the core organization and our membership — has lived up to those terms.
I now sit in an almost empty office. Purging 12 years of files and memorabilia has reminded me of so much:
• Eight Neighbors, and other groundbreaking regional partnerships;
• the flash mob at the 2010 Annual Meeting and our ongoing commitment to using the arts to underscore messages;
• the growth of The Daily (and sometimes “Almost Daily”) WRAG into a must-read publication for the local social sector;
• the Thought Leaders series that led to Brightest Minds and the Cafritz Lecture on Philanthropy;
• the ebbs and flows over the years of our various working and affinity groups;
• the planning and launch of the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility;
• the evolution of our work on housing affordability (and its future trajectory); and, of course,
• WRAG’s work on race and racism.
I am proud of this work.
WRAG has been fortunate to have a complement of staff throughout the years who were dedicated, creative, smart, and fun. As I leave, WRAG is financially stable. The organization is in the incredibly capable hands of a great staff and board, and a new leader is coming on April 15th.
It is interesting how “retirement” has come to mean so many different things. I don’t know yet what form my retirement will take. I welcome your insights on where you think I might fit. I am committed to working for and with strong organizations within what I still want to call the social profit sector. I know that affordable housing has to mean homes to buy, not just rental opportunities. Child welfare has to find a place at the issue table. And, I fully believe that the fight for racial equity and justice is a relay race with no end in sight. Give me a few months to get my second wind and I will pick up on another leg of that race. I am not certain what my formal platform will be, but I know my work and voice will continue.
I have made so many wonderful friends and connected with amazing colleagues. I hope we will stay in touch. On social media, you can follow my monthly blog at www.daughtersofthedream.org and soon I will launch a new Twitter account @DgtsOfTheDream. You can always reach me at cozybaycottage(at)gmail.com. Maybe you will even find a warm summer day to join me at the cottage or time to take an urban hike through my beautiful city. Wishing all of you the very, very best.