As you are well aware, 2020 was a year filled with gut-wrenching realities. These realities—the pandemic, racial inequities, gender discrimination—have come like unrelenting waves to the shore, both remorseless and ruthless. But perhaps the most difficult and ugly part of these many “waves” has been the relational fractures that have been revealed.
Though we know the only way through this is together, we have become distanced, disaffected, and divided. What is to be done?
Amidst these fractures, Leadership Foundations and our global network has stepped up and stepped in. Through our field-tested wheel of change—engaging leaders of good faith and good will, building the capacity of others, developing joint initiatives—the LF network has delved deep into the fractures of our world to provide concrete demonstrations of what healing actually looks like…
…Let me highlight three examples of this healing for you:
1. Healing Amidst Inequality– We are living in a time of frightening inequality, exposed and exacerbated by COVID. As you’ve seen, COVID has laid to rest any illusion that we are living in a just and humane society for all. On the front lines in the cities that we serve, the LF network was able to rapidly respond to coordinate resources, fill in gaps, and ensure that the most vulnerable in our cities were cared for.
Thanks to you support, to date and through our 40+ affiliates, you have helped activate $11.4 million, provide 3,005 volunteers, and offer 2,689,586 meals and $485,660 worth of emergency supplies. A startling and stunning display of ingenuity and generosity that addresses these deep inequalities.
2. Healing Gaping Racial Wounds-We are living in a time of racial injustice that is not leaving us anytime soon. While the death of George Floyd captured all our attention, these wounds are taking place in chronically harmful ways in cities throughout the world. Your support has allowed LF to engage this reality at two levels:
First is the deep commitment we have to people of color in our leadership ranks. We are enormously proud that over 50% of our Local Leadership Foundations are led by people of color.
Secondly, the entire LF staff and Board of Directors have continued to champion racial equity through initiatives that impact policy and practice at the private, corporate and board levels.
3. Healing Across Ideology– We are living in a time of ideological hostility where the cruel and cutting seem to be winning the day.
Into this space, LF lifts the beauty of diversity and the inherent dignity of each person, seeing one another as a part of the solution rather than the problem. One of the ways we achieved this was through LF’s Townhall gatherings. Held weekly in 2020, the Town Halls attracted over 2,000 attendees, most importantly the local leaders on the ground working to transform their cities. These leaders were encouraged by thought leaders with innovative solutions to pressing problems, challenged with tools and strategies, informed by policy experts and nurtured by world class theologians.
Thanks to your support, through these Town Halls, we have seen a glorious example of Dr. Martin Luther King’s idea of the “beloved community” made real.
While being mindful of the landscape we have traversed together in 2020, we are deeply hopeful for the ways that the work of LF will deepen and expand in the future.
Through your continued support, LF will work to deepen our commitments to those things we know have always worked and will continue to work in transforming our world’s cities: the power of relationships, the dynamism of collective impact, and the belief that healing is both spiritual and social.
You will also see how LF will bring about this healing in new and imaginative ways: connecting unlikely partners around the common good, innovating new ideas and practices on behalf of the marginalized, and forging spaces within our world’s cities where all are included.
Thank you for journeying with us in this glorious work of seeing cities become God’s playgrounds.
Dave Hillis, President and Randy Drew, Board Chair