Someone said to me, “You have big shoes to fill!”
I don’t know about Kathy Baylis’s shoe size, but I do know she left a very sizable mark on this community and on all of us. And I know she had a big heart.
Kathy put that big heart out there in everything she did. She was so inspired by her work with The Patterson Foundation and the Aspirations to Actions Initiative that she wanted this to be her legacy. However, Kathy never wanted this work to be about her, but rather what we – all of us – were doing together. She personified The Harwood Institute's concept of “turning outward.” This was her direction in all things.
As the new Aspirations to Actions Initiative Consultant, I promised her that I would carry on this, her heart-felt legacy. I feel the weight of this commitment and it is my honor. My greatest regret, though, is that Kathy and I never had the chance to meet in person. We talked on the phone, and we did “see” each other through the lens of mutual friends. I felt her strength. I heard her convictions. She was a force. I have come to value her even more now that I know so many of you.
She loved her work and she loved her community and she loved so many of you. This is how I know how big her heart was. And I now understand the “big shoes” metaphor a lot better, too.
Talking with Kathy reminded me of a quote by Dan Zadra: “All the really great things in life are expressed in the simplest words: friends and family; purpose and meaning; love and work; caring and community; appreciation and gratitude.”
I was in awe of her gratitude to all of you: Friends, volunteers, Public Innovators, community leaders, colleagues at The Patterson Foundation and The Harwood Institute. I must take a moment here to express my deepest appreciation to all of you, as well.
As Kathy and I discussed Aspirations to Actions, her greatest hope focused on the ultimate and the very real possibilities that could (and will!) blossom as a result of this initiative. She was moved by the aspirations of those engaged in the Community Conversations. She could see this engagement could (and will!) have the greatest impact on how people work in harmony to solve pressing community concerns. Hope can transform all of us.
Kathy Baylis left us many riches.
Big ideas. Big dreams. Big aspirations. And of course, that big heart!
The really beautiful thing about this inheritance is that the work Kathy loved so much, believed in, and felt so deeply compelled to do even in her final days here on Earth lives on in the work we are all doing together through Aspirations to Actions.
It is in this spirit that I am honored to come into this very unique space and to tend to this legacy. I look forward to joining with all of you to make good things, our shared aspirations, come to life. What we do with this inheritance -- to make a lasting, positive difference in our world -- will not only be the greatest tribute to Kathy, but it will also become the legacy that we all leave.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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