Shaping the future we want – 2017 Kick Off

By Fernande Legros, Full Circle Fund Program Officer

What happens when nearly 200 people come together to envision a different future? Difficult truths are spoken. Varying perspectives shared. Deeper questions asked. New friendships formed.  On the heels of the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the question “Where do we go from here: chaos or community?” still rings true 50 years later.

Learning, like doing, is integral to the way we approach change-making here at Full Circle Fund. The night began with a panel of thought leaders who spoke about the challenges and opportunities ahead and helped give nuance to the current moment we’re in. From the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act to the failure of the public school system to the need to address climate change, there is a lot at stake.

Again and again, our speakers reminded us of the need to engage with one another, to break through our bubbles and talk with those who think differently, to be radical in our approach to philanthropy, to support initiatives that are actively working to change the conditions of the most marginalized and vulnerable, and to join in movement-building and consciousness-raising. Yes, indeed – we have work to do.

The night continued with participants breaking into groups to dialogue about the issues that felt most urgent to them and deliberate on ways they could commit to having an impact this year. The new questions raised – like how to bring more empathy and love to how we collaborate, to what it would be mean to make San Francisco a sanctuary city – and the many solutions proposed, left us feeling inspired that together – we can shape the future we want.

To the prompt My Commitment Is, some of our guests answered:

  • Build bridges across political and economic divisions

  • Put spending money where my mouth is (e.g. sustainable products, mission-driven companies)

  • Have coffee with 24 people who are working in the education space to understand current landscape, challenges, and opportunities

  • Learn more about health care inequality and impact on education

  • Tend to community directly (not just by giving money)

  • Keep reading articles from respectable news outlets that may challenge my views

  • Avoid feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of defeat/insurmountable odds

  • Listen more and help facilitate conversations

  • Find out more about water issues and how to pitch in with communicating this to others

  • The Human Kindness Connection! I’m going to talk to more folks about ideas big and small

As a community, we commit to the work that is ours to do. How about you? Join us!