We recently shared with you the difficult news of our need to dramatically reshape our staffing model in light of our reduced resources. Despite the grim realities of today’s economic climate - our message remained hopeful. We fully believe that we are simply taking the necessary steps to forge a New Beginning. There is too much left to do to reach our goal of making Washington the Healthiest State in the Nation for us to stop now. We also realize there are no successors to our unique methods of improving the health of people and communities in our state.
Our financial struggles are directly tied to our different approach to health improvement. Once a multi-million dollar organization, we consciously chose to aggressively spend our reserves to create major change in health and health care, rather than doling out small amounts of interest earnings toward only marginal change (as many other foundations and government do). While our bank account has suffered, we believe it was the right thing to do.
We do not know where our new journey will lead us. It is very early in our exploration of what comes next. But we do know where it will start - with the needs and voices of the people of Washington. Furthermore, we will never compromise the vision and values that we have embraced for the past 20 years. The past is our prologue, not for the sake of nostalgia, but as proof that you can make a difference – in a different way.
The journey takes its first small steps today with the unveiling of our new website at www.whf.org. Through this, we will celebrate our many accomplishments over the past 20 years. From the 160 major programs and innovative activities we designed, built and championed, to the 500-plus grants we awarded to create better health in communities across our state. We will also share the valuable lessons learned as to what made so many of them – so successful.
One reason for our success is our unwavering willingness to step into the background when our practical solutions take root. While many others seem more focused on press clippings and credit for projects half-done, we fully committed ourselves to the change - not the headlines. We want that to continue. But we do need you and many others to stand with us as we move into this New Beginning.
Washingtonians have blessed us with their involvement in our work over the past 20 years. Tens of thousands of you helped turn our Healthiest State in the Nation Campaign into the largest civic engagement project for health in state history. It is an incredible accomplishment and one that leaves us honored and humbled. But to succeed in the next step of our journey, we need you again. Please help by sharing your ideas, your participation, or your financial contributions.
Thank you for all that you have done, and will do, as we take the first few steps into our New Beginning!