This past Wednesday, the Federation, JCC and Foundation held their joint Annual Meeting. One element of the meeting is the welcoming of new board members and the saying farewell to those who are stepping down. I want to highlight and say publicly say thank you to Steve August who is stepping down after 20 plus years of service to the Federation Board as a member and/or officer. Steve was also the first board member that reached out and introduced himself to me when I came to New Haven two years ago. He also helped on Super Sunday and came to phone nights. I will miss him around the federation board table, but I know I will see him around the community.
Wednesday night also marked the passing of the Federation Board gavel from Don Hendel to Stephanie Wain. In Stephanie’s inaugural speech, she referenced her recent trip to Yosemite National Park and the Giant Sequoia tree, the largest living thing on our planet. I want to share with you a portion of her speech that I found especially poignant and so true.
A old mystery about the giant sequoia was solved recently. Years ago, when the loggers cut a tree down, a few years later, for some unknown reason, the surrounding trees also fell and died. The tree roots actually form a web that intertwines with the surrounding trees to support each other, share nutrients, so they can grow so tall despite its shallow roots. However, when one falls so do many of the adjacent trees. So too, our agencies and our Federation and our JCC are intertwined and dependent on each other; we must work together to stabilize all our agencies. We are one community and if one agency is faltering then we must rally to support it because if it falls we will all eventually fall.
When Steve Glick became VP of Fundraising last year, he made it clear to me that he wanted to help us find new streams of revenue, and more specifically some new corporate sponsors. He used his contacts and found us a Merrill Lynch group to sponsor the Major Gifts Event. Earlier this spring, he and Sydney were at the New Haven Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and decided that we too should find corporate sponsors to defray the cost of the event. I want to publicly thank the four local businesses that underwrote our Annual Meeting: ABS – Advanced Business Systems, Inc., CT’s Authorized Xerox Sales Agency; Barker Specialty Company; Brenner, Saltzman & Wallman, LLC – Attorneys at Law; and CIT – Chamber Insurance Trust. For the coming year, Steve and I are working on more corporate sponsorship opportunities. If anyone has thoughts or leads, please pass them on to either of us.
Speaking of we must rally to support, there are at least two more phone nights coming up. Please join us on Monday, June 16 at 7pm and/or Thursday, June 16 also at 7pm. We need to keep our Giant Sequoia tree growing.