My board teases me incessantly about my delay in posting a Chairman’s message. I take the much deserved ribbing knowing that the delay was not without cause. I have been a member of the Advancement of Children Foundation (ACF) for approximately three years, and just completed the first year of my chairmanship, having been VP the previous year; and while I approach the role with excitement and enthusiasm, I also recognize the importance of having a clear understanding of the ACF before speaking on its behalf.
That being said, I am honored to be the newest chair for the ACF, and privileged with the responsibility myself and the other ACF councilors have taken on as a board with respect to the goals, purpose and effective functioning of the foundation.
I employ an optimistic vision of the ACFs role in the way forward in relation to bridging the gap between the public and private sectors as it relates to advocacy, support and understanding, and improving the social conditions of our most at-risk citizens: our youth.
It is my opinion that this optimism begins with a change in our way of seeing, thinking and pro-acting when it comes to charity. Charity and caring for a society’s vulnerable youth is a national responsibility, not just the provenance of government or a few committed individuals. It requires not only the provision of much needed fundraising, but a commitment to understanding the issues that contribute to causes we support.
It is clear from the commitment of our founding and continuing partners that our social partners see the need to address the problems stemming from a variety of social ills that affect our nation, ranging from poverty to gang violence and the like. But we also need to continue to foster relationships with CBOS, NGOS and human and social services to ensure understanding of the root causes of our challenges, including but not limited to, illiteracy, poverty, and a limited life skills development for our youth. For us to achieve any success we need to understand the need. We see the need for change and we have to work together to make change happen.
It is my vision for the ACF that we can rewrite the saying, and instead of putting our money where our mouths are, put our mouths where our money is, with a view of making a genuine impact, not just lip service to the cause. We look to the view of building corporate partnerships, not just related to funding, but mutually beneficial outcomes. It is important that we maximize use of our resources through planning and cooperation with private sector and philanthropic corporations, not just by giving money to projects, but by ensuring we are making the most effective, efficient and evaluative use of our efforts to help our vulnerable and at risk youth.
This is my message. Hope it was worth the wait…