Dear friends and colleagues,
“Everything changes and nothing stands still,” declared Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher from the 6th century BCE. Nothing could be truer. Change unfolds slowly through the natural progression of things and sometimes erupts from pivotal events - #metoo, George Floyd, and Covid come to mind. Either way, it is a constant of which we are both participant and product. After 8 ½ years as VAN’s Executive Director, I am making a change to step out of my role.
As I reflect on my time amidst all the changes, the challenges, the debates, the setbacks, and the celebrations, I am honored to have worked with so many people who deeply care about the Washington County community. I see this care with Washington County Thrives, an ongoing collaborative that emerged from the Great Recession and helped advance initiatives to increase affordable housing and wraparound services for thousands in the metro area. I saw this care when VAN connected 180 faith and government leaders to engage in dialogue about the houseless crisis. I saw this care during the Collaborative Community Forums where nearly 400 people gathered to advance racial equity that gave rise to the Racial Equity Collaborative. I saw this care at VAN’s 13th annual adVANce event (aka Meet the Funders) where 170 people came together to cultivate partnerships and increase investment in our local community-based organizations. I saw this care in VAN’s work with the City of Beaverton and their community-centered process to develop a Downtown Equity Strategy. Most recently, I saw this care among Washington County’s behavioral health providers as part of VAN’s Behavioral Health Initiative to increase the workforce, as well as expand culturally specific services for the Latine community. I could go on, but let me just say to each of you who have engaged with VAN to effect positive change in the community, I offer my heartfelt gratitude!
I will continue to serve in my current capacity through the end of the year, and together with my indispensable coworker Jenny and VAN’s board of directors, we will navigate this transition. It has been a privilege to work alongside such thoughtful and dedicated staff and volunteers, both past and present, and I appreciate their commitment as stewards of the organization.
In the new year, I look forward to creating space, the blank page between chapters, as it were, that connects an ending to a new beginning, and I also hope to remain connected to you and this ever-changing community. Please keep in touch!