The end of each year is always a time of great reflection and as I ponder my career as a change agent, I have spent a good amount of time of late contemplating the concept of change itself.
Merriam Webster defines change as “the act of making or becoming different.” It seems that few things in life are quite as inevitable as change. The passage of time alone is enough to propel it forward. On scales large and small, and in periods both abrupt and drawn out, change happens — is happening — with or without our participation. For some of us, change can be overwhelming. Embracing new realities can raise unsettling questions and challenge our core beliefs.
But if guided by the participation of those it most closely affects, change can take on an entirely new meaning. It can enfranchise voices previously unheard or ignored. It can galvanize the mettle and collective resolve of entire communities. It can open the door to something new and different, but also stronger and more resilient — for today and tomorrow.
Over the past several years, you have heard how the Foundation is changing to build the social, economic, and political power of underserved communities throughout the East Bay. While we have used “social justice” as a term to describe this work — our goal is to simply live up to the framework set forth by our nation’s forefathers — who in declaring its independence, proudly professed that “all are created equal” and forcefully espoused the “Right of the People” to safeguard their liberties by “organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.”
An active citizenry is central to how a society functions, and societies are strongest when all citizens and communities are engaged in the process of creating it by exercising its voice. As a community foundation, we believe that philanthropic investment in building civic engagement can amplify those voices. It can provide resources that enable communities to create the conditions for change to manifest. For without change, there can be no growth — no progress — no opportunity to take the lessons of today to shape a better tomorrow.
On behalf of our staff and Board, I am thankful for our deeply generous community of donors, supporters and fundholders that have sustained us on this change journey. We are honored that you have chosen to partner with EBCF to help bring to fruition our shared vision of an inclusive, fair and just East Bay. Your encouragement equips us with the confidence that the kind of change we seek for the East Bay is not only possible, but within our reach.
Best Wishes on a Healthy and Happy New Year!
James W. Head
President and Chief Executive Officer
East Bay Community Foundation