How our values will guide us in the new year
As 2017 draws to a close, we at GAR Foundation are pausing to reflect on what we have learned and accomplished in partnership with you this year. It has been an eventful one for us, marked by the launch of our new strategy that you, our valued stakeholders, helped to inform. We’ve talked a lot this year about our new mission statement – To help Akron become smarter, stronger, and more vibrant – and our new, more focused strategies. We have talked somewhat less about another really important piece of work: our new statement of GAR’s values. These values serve as our organization’s North Star. They remind us of who we are and what we are all about as we navigate decisions and move our work forward. So indulge me as I share them here, along with my running commentary in italics:
At GAR Foundation, we
• Seek long-term solutions. Because our community’s most vexing problems did not happen overnight and won’t be solved overnight.
• Commit to building and maintaining trusting relationships. Because trust is the currency through which we can make real change.
• Respect our grantees as experts in their fields who commit to continuous learning. Because you are! And we value that expertise as a key resource.
• Embrace transparency and candid communications. Because life is too short not to have real conversations with trusted partners.
• Encourage reasoned risk-taking to seek innovative solutions. Because we will not solve problems with the same consciousness that created them.
• Advance strategic priorities through partnerships built on shared learning and collaborative action. Because no one has all the answers and no one can do this work effectively on their own.
• Use data to understand issues, evaluate outcomes, and guide our decisions. Because data is a shared language that can help us navigate complexity.
• Hold ourselves accountable to the same level of excellence we ask of our grantees and community partners. Because our founders Galen and Ruth Roush would not have it any other way.
• Bring enthusiasm, compassion, and love for our community to our work and volunteer engagements. Because it is an honor to do this work.
• Tackle structural barriers rooted in racial and economic inequities. Because our humanity demands it.
All of us at GAR Foundation are deeply grateful to you, our partners and colleagues in advancing a better future for Akron. May the holiday season be a time of blessings, family, and rest. We look forward to working hard alongside you in the new year.