"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has..." Margaret Mead
In 2012, when we started Sunflower Hill, this quote by Margaret Mead was our mantra. As parents and concerned community leaders, we knew we were embarking on a bold idea - to create affordable residential communities and vocational programs for individuals with developmental delays, akin to senior living. Call us crazy, but thanks to passionate and committed board members and talented advisors who believed in our ideas, I believe we've had a very positive effect on at least part of that paradigm and world of those with special needs.
I'm grateful to all who've been on this journey with us - including past and present board members, many of whom devoted long hours as unpaid, 'working members' of our organization, despite their real day jobs! I'm grateful for our connected community leaders and advisors who used their expertise to assist in various projects as well as the local government officials, vendors and partners who said 'yes...we believe in your vision!' All of these individuals are the reason we've been able to create opportunities that are effectively resonating with our families, ranchers and volunteers. I also believe it was this collective commitment that led the honorable Catharine Baker to select us as the 2017 Nonprofit of the Year for the 16th Assembly District - after five years in existence, no less!
Just last year, we took one of our boldest steps - hiring a full-time Executive Director, Edie Nehls, to help us transition from a 'working board of directors' to more of a governing entity, with directors remaining focused on the big picture and the strategy and policy necessary for long-term success. That decision was absolutely the right one to make. Thanks to Edie's strong nonprofit management expertise, she's already actively and expertly transforming our organization - with creative programs, fresh ideas and fabulous new staff members.
We also begin 2019 with fresh new faces on our board of directors, Amy Bona, Anne Roby and Dan Foster, and new officers - including Kathy Layman, who is succeeding me as board president. Kathy has been the Vice President of Sunflower Hill for the past year. An expert in project management, with a strong corporate background, Kathy is absolutely the right person to begin this new era for our organization.
While I'll remain involved with Sunflower Hill as Founder and Advisor, Sunflower Hill will now transition into 2019 with the board of directors providing governing assistance to Edie and staff as they take over the day-to-day operations. All of us will continue to work collectively to ensure that our vision - to become "a model for special needs living and vocational options in the Bay Area, ensuring quality of life, and individual choices" remains paramount.
It takes a village for any true initiative to gain traction. Sunflower Hill would not be successful without all of you. Your continued belief in and support of our mission and vision is inspirational. We are grateful to our families, community members and corporate employees who volunteer at our garden, have breakfast at Stable Cafe as well as those who attend our events and city meetings, support our fundraisers and philanthropic needs or even follow us on social media- sharing in our stories and dreams.
Sunflower Hill is a place where individuals with special needs can thrive.
for that, we can all be very proud. Thank you and here's to a great 2019!