As another work week begins, our families, neighbors, and communities need us more than ever.

There is a lyric from the musical Hamilton, "How lucky we are to be alive today," which might make one think all was rosy back then, while the reality was that the colonies were in distress at levels we can only imagine.

Now we find ourselves living in a turmoil-filled time - from a pandemic to protests. Like those who have come before us, it is now our time to create a better future for all.

Many have learned that change happens at the speed of trust, which is why Hannah Saeger-Karnei and Manatee Community Foundation’s Alicia Chalmers hosted community conversations using Harwood time tested techniques.

Comments from participants on shared responsibility included, "We are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm," and "If your neighbors' boat is sinking, what does it matter that yours still floats?"

Engaging with people where they are is at the heart of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR). Already more than 500 children are registered for THIS BOOK IS COOL!, and more than 3,000 kids are registered through their summer provider. Created by Beth Duda and a squad of engagers, this multi-layered, masterfully created, family-engagement experience to instill the joy of reading focuses on possibilities. Yes, dancing in the street was to happen May 31, 2020, but was postponed due to peaceful protests on the same streets. Be assured, Kelli Karen Smith will be choreographing a socially distanced SCGLR team dance in the times ahead. Yes, registrations continue to grow; next goal, 1,000! Heather Koester and team stand ready for logistics roll out.

Just this past week, Jenifer Johnson and Shalia Moore-Hayes hosted virtual Power of Presence conversations and Mind in the Making workshops where tears and laughter weaved the threads of relationships.

Herald-Tribune's Matt Sauer reminds the region that now is the time to be counted.

This past week Jake Hartvigsen and Hannah virtually high-fived because all 20,000 CensusPrimers were distributed. This happens when people find ways to connect with community. Relationships make a difference.

Now, more than quote Abraham Lincoln, "All over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

Each of you embodies better angels, and together we will create a hopeful future, for we are each invaluable in how we use our gifts.

The Patterson Foundation's approach to discovering and advancing shared aspirations is more critical than ever. Be affirmed that every action you take to help others and to pursue possibilities with purpose contributes to a stronger world.

With forward-focusing,
Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation

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