The bad news is, I'm too busy working with my clients to create new content for this blog. The good news is, I have a bunch of posts I created for a community blog when I first started CMR Communications that have been lost through a technology glitch. Here's an example from July, 2019.
Many people think of libraries with a sense of nostalgia. They’re the ultimate in old school – dusty stacks of books and shushing librarians – right? But you’d be making a mistake if you thought of Albany Public Library that way.
According to their website, Albany Public Library has all the traditional library resources you need – books and movies, computers and WiFi, databases and research, storytime and tutoring. But they also offer services that educate, entertain and empower our community – like a maker space, museum passes, fitness classes, and meeting rooms.
Albany Made Creative Lab
This maker space at the Washington Avenue Branch gives adults access to creative arts materials and digital technology. They offer classes and programs using the resources of the Albany Made creative labs as well as hosting open lab times where patrons can come in to tinker on their own.
This is a great place to explore a side hustle – or transform a hobby into a career! The Albany Made Creative Lab boasts: 3D printers and scanner; sewing machines; fiber arts materials; screen printing press; hand tools like a rotary tool, power drill, and soldering iron; bike repair station; graphics and video editing software; color printer; digital cameras and Adobe Creative Cloud software for PC and Mac.
Museum and Historic Site Passes
Did you know your library card was also a key to free admission to 26 cultural attractions in the greater Capital Region? From The Wild Center in Tupper Lake and The Clark art museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts – to treasures in our own backyard like the USS Slater and the Albany Institute of History and Art.
You can even borrow an Empire Pass, providing unlimited day-use vehicle entry to most facilities operated by New York State Parks and the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation including forests, beaches, trails and more. Locally, that includes Grafton Lakes State Park, Thompson’s Lake Campground, Peebles Island State Park and Saratoga Spa State Park.
Summer Reading Challenge
Kids do better in school when they read over the summer – even if it’s for just 10 minutes a day!
To combat the “summer slide,” Albany Public Library is hosting dozens of programs, activities, and events during the Summer Reading Challenge, which runs through Saturday, August 31.
Kids and teens can:
It’s all free!
Not only are the programs above free, but as of January 1, 2019, Albany Public Library is a fine free library. The library’s staff and board chose to go fine-free to decrease barriers to the collection and encourage people to come back to the library. Some people thought that having overdue fines meant they couldn’t use any of the library’s services or attend their programs – and they stopped coming to the library. By eliminating fines, the library hopes to make it easier for all people to visit, borrow materials, and access services.
Friends of Albany Public Library is a non-profit organization whose members are dedicated to supporting the library. The group presents a variety of programs that are free and open to the public. The Friends also raise money to help support library programs, like the Summer Reading Program above. They also host a weekly book talk on Tuesdays at 12:15 p.m., posting their monthly schedule on Facebook. Here’s a preview of the August lineup:
Did you know you can use your library card to borrow free digital downloads of books through the Libby app? It’s the easiest way to get started with digital books, audiobooks, and magazines on your phone, tablet or desktop. If you prefer reading on your Kindle, Libby can even send your library books to it. Libby is available for Android, iOS, Windows 10, some Chromebooks, and in your browser at libbyapp.com.
As Carl T. Rowan said, “The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.” Visit your local branch today and love your library!
The bad news is, I'm too busy working with my clients to create new content for this blog. The good news is, I have a bunch of posts I created for a community blog when I first started CMR Communications that have been lost through a technology glitch. Here's an example from June, 2019.
The presence of art in the public eye changes the way one experiences a city. From bold, monumental murals to unexpected moments of whimsy, public art can enliven streetscapes and engage visitors and residents alike.
The Arts Center of the Capital Region (ACCR) has been working with stakeholders from the City of Troy and beyond for years, and in ways large and small, their vision is now becoming reality. A key component of their Public Art Program is community engagement – so pick a project and get involved!
Breathing New Life into Franklin Alley
Today, Franklin Alley is an underutilized relic of the 19th century alleys that connected Troy’s bustling thoroughfares – Broadway and River Street. But soon, thanks to a major public art project, Franklin Alley will be a downtown destination.
The Franklin Alley Pedestrian Walkway Mural project will connect restaurants and cultural venues and transform a vacant alley into a new gathering space for residents and visitors alike.
“Urban alleyways tell stories,” said Elizabeth Reiss, CEO of ACCR. “They are living environments inhabited by old fire escapes, boarded windows and graffitied doors, all evoking the lives of those who passed through them. Franklin Alley will help tell Troy’s story – past, present and future.”
Internationally known mural artist Joe Iurato has been chosen for the Franklin Alley project. A multidisciplinary artist whose works are built on a foundation of stencils and aerosol, Iurato’s murals have enlivened neighborhoods along the east coast United States for years. More recently, he’s become known for the unique placement and photography of miniature painted wood cutouts in public spaces.
The ACCR and Iurato are working to ensure that the mural is informed by a wide variety of experiences and voices. The Franklin Alley team includes elected officials, City employees, building owners, historians, residents, artists and youth program participants. The Arts Center will host a public forum to discuss the project with the artist on Wednesday, June 26 at 265 River Street in Troy at 6:00 p.m.
Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said, “Public art is more than paint on a wall or statue on a sidewalk – it’s a way to bring together neighbors, families, and community organizations to enhance the Collar City’s reputation as a cultural and creative hub in the Capital District. The City of Troy is pleased to partner with the Arts Center of the Capital Region to advance the Troy Master Plan for Public Art, an important effort which will enhance the vibrancy of our community.”
According to Reiss, “The Franklin Alley project as a demonstration of best practices for placemaking. Unfortunately, we’ve seen communities install murals without reference to their environment or their neighbors. The ACCR is working as a community for the community, and we hope this will serve as a model for other public art programs.”
Once the design is created, Iurato will install the artwork, working with his crew as well as artists and young people from the planning team. The mural will be unveiled in September to dovetail with the Downtown BID’s Restaurant and Craft Brew week and the launch of a marketing campaign by the Troy Cultural Alliance.
The Franklin Alley Pedestrian Walkway Mural project is just one component of ACCR’s comprehensive public art program. Additional efforts in the pipeline include:
Throughout Troy, public art will support efforts where planning and placemaking come together to create lively community spaces. “Through this public art program, the Arts Center itself has undergone an institutional transformation,” said Reiss. “Our Public Art Program is a manifestation of connecting community to the arts. We’re so grateful to our sponsors for their support of this project, including: NYSCA; the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation; the Troy Redevelopment Foundation; the Upstate Theater Coalition for a Fairgame and generous members of our community.”
According to the Troy Master Plan for Public Art’s vision statement:
Public art in Troy will not be seen as a simple amenity. Instead, it will be viewed as a vital platform for innovative experimentation and curious exploration that becomes a part of Troy’s creative and civic ecosystem – tapping into and uplifting the perception that Troy is the creative city in the Capital Region.
So, now’s your chance! Head over to Troy and take part in art!
The bad news is, I'm too busy working with my clients to create new content for this blog. The good news is, I have a bunch of posts I created for a community blog when I first started CMR Communications that have been lost through a technology glitch. Here's an example from May, 2019.
Albany has a lot of plans. The Albany 2030 Plan, adopted in 2012, was the first Comprehensive Plan in the city’s 400-year history. There’s a plan for Complete Streets, a plan for Energy and a strategy called Impact Downtown.
This year, Albany is updating its Citywide Historic Preservation Plan, and opportunities for the public to chime in are part of the process.
The Lakota Group, based in Chicago, has been retained to produce the plan. The group has 25 years of experience in urban design, planning, landscape architecture and historic preservation. According to their website, their mission is “to create plans that build connections between people, their environments and their history.”
On May 21, representatives from the Hudson/Park, Center Square, Washington Park, Ten Broeck Triangle and Delaware Avenue Neighborhood Associations, as well as former members of the city’s Historic Resources Commission and Planning Department, took part in a stakeholder meeting with Lakota staff.
Issues varied widely – some neighbors expressed concern about multiple satellite television receivers on residential buildings while others were alarmed by the growing number of emergency demolitions.
From the former St. Joseph’s Church in Arbor Hill to the “red x” placards on vacant buildings, the invited stakeholders seemed to agree on one thing – there is plenty of room for improvement in the way Albany treats its historic built environment.
According to the request for proposals issued by the city in February, the Citywide Historic Preservation Plan will:
That last bullet is where the community planning process comes in.
The ambitious timeline calls for stakeholder interviews, focus groups and community open houses through June, with the delivery of the final plan in September 2019.
This is your chance to get involved! Visit AlbanyHistoricPreservationPlan.com and sign up for email updates. Attend a public meeting. Advocate for what matters most to you.
Albany is the oldest chartered city in the nation. It deserves strategic, thoughtful management of its built environment. Albany’s historic fabric is among the city’s most promising – and to date, largely untapped – economic development assets. You can help make sure we get the Historic Preservation Plan right.
The holiday weekend is fast approaching, and I've been getting vacation responders for the past week. Seems like a lot the people who worked straight through the pandemic are finally taking a breather.
I'm going to take a page out of that playbook, and rather than creating new content for a blog post, share a lengthy email that I sent recently to some 80+ Community Development Financial Institutions in New York State. I serve as consulting executive director of the NYS CDFI Coalition, and one of the projects we've been working on is securing additional sources of funding for CDFIs, which played an important role as financial first responders over the past 18 months! I hope you learn something about CDFIs and that if you have any questions, you'll drop me a line - let's make #SmallTalk!
Dear NYS CDFI Coalition member -
We're excited to present our second NYS CDFI Quarterly Investor Club event with our partner, Impact Finance Center, on Friday, July 2. This event differs from our monthly informational webinars in that we feature an investor panel, a CDFI panel, AND a series of quick pitches from NYS CDFIs.
This is a great opportunity to highlight the work you're doing in front of an audience of prospective investors - those who watch in real time, as well as those who participate in Impact Finance Center's Impact Investing Institute. The non-profit Institute identifies, trains, and activates individuals and organizations to become impact investors, helping them better align their assets with their values. They are working to move more money to social ventures by creating the infrastructure for a Nationwide Impact Investing Marketplace by 2030 - and NYS CDFI Coalition members are on the list!
Your support of the NYS CDFI Coalition helps us explore new ways of attracting capital to our members, and we're excited about some early interest from investors. We hope you can join us!
Link to "Financial Storytelling for NYS CDFIs" - Andrea's example of a 2-minute pitch is between 15:30 - 17:25.
PRO TIPS from the video - For your 2-minute pitch - pick one STORY that investors will remember and lead with it.
NOT: X Bank has a small loan program and we help homeowners.
BUT: We got a call from someone whose parents' home had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy and they urgently needed $$$$$ to make repairs.
NOT: We helped a church with TA and a loan because they didn't have solid bookkeeping practices and didn't look good on paper for lending.
BUT: Imagine having 2 houses deeded to you, and homeless veterans needing a place to live, but you don't have money to fix them up. That's what happened to XXX Church.
NOT: During the pandemic we facilitated $XXX million in loans, helping XXX businesses.
BUT: A year ago, she was in danger of losing her business. Last month, she was on the cover of Financial Times, thanks to a CDFI.
We’re all just passing through – what counts is what we do along the way.
For more than 20 years, I’ve been involved in historic preservation. I joined the board of Historic Albany Foundation in 1998 and the staff of the Preservation League of New York State in 2003. I chaired Albany’s Historic Resources Commission from 2015 – 2018.
In each of these positions, I was far more interested in the evolution of the neighborhoods and dwellings we lived in than I was in creating “houses under glass.” Perhaps that’s why this painting – on upcycled window sash – appealed to me so deeply. I won it at a fundraiser for Historic Albany Foundation, BUILT, in 2014. It bears a quote from Jane Jacobs, “Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them.” I displayed it at my office at the Preservation League for many years.
In 2019, when I launched CMR Communications, I thought I might go “back” to work in an office again, so I stacked the painting with some other pieces and there it sat for two years.
Fortunately, CMR Communications is flourishing – I’m not looking to give up my business any time soon. So, it’s time to pass this piece along so more people can see it!
I'm donating this painting to the Albany Community Land Trust, because I believe deeply in their mission and the partners they work with.
Local real estate markets are in flux because of the pandemic and lingering affects of the foreclosure crisis. Population shifts and limited access to capital - often a holdover from redlining - have led to a decline in housing stock, and people who have lived in the same neighborhood for years are losing their homes. Community Land Trusts can help preserve affordable options for all. Land Trusts:
The Albany Community Land Trust (ACLT) is a community-based non-profit organization committed to rebuilding neighborhood housing stock and creating high quality permanently affordable housing in the city of Albany.
ACLT holds land in a trust for the use of community residents who would otherwise be priced out of the real estate market. The homeowner holds the title to the renovated building. They provide quality rental and homeownership opportunities.
Their work leans into Jane Jacobs’ maxim that cities need old buildings. According to a 2016 report from the National Trust, “older and smaller buildings and a wide range in building age offer real economic and social benefits for neighborhoods and urban centers.”
Whether you’re considering an old building, the land that’s under it, or a work of art, ultimately, we’re all just stewards. You can’t take it with you, right? I’m happy to pass along this painting by Justin Mugits, and hope that more people will take inspiration from it.
As he wrote about the title of the piece, "WWJJD? stands for What Would Jane Jacobs Do? It's a reminder to consider the impact that development has on all people and the environment. Bigger is not always better and planned development does not equal organic growth."
What resources are you stewarding for the next in line?
Drop me a line – let’s make #SmallTalk!
For further reading:
Jane Jacobs was Right: Older and smaller buildings and a wide range in building age offer real economic and social benefits for neighborhoods and urban centers. ROBERT STEUTEVILLE NOV. 3, 2016 / Public Square – CNU Journal
Shake the branches of your family tree, and you may be surprised what falls out!
My sister, brother and I thought that maybe our ancestors came over the Bering Land Bridge to become the first people in the Americas. Family lore had it that my paternal grandmother, who we called Mim, was French Canadian with more than a smidge of Native American. My grandfather, Pip, who was a newspaper typesetter, actually had a faux wedding announcement printed that noted that the bride wore a gown of buckskin and carried a tomahawk bedecked with flowers.
Imagine my surprise when in March, 2002, I typed my grandparents’ names into an early genealogy website and got a hit. I emailed the contact person, and he sent a full Ahnentafel chart for Mim's parents - my great-grandparents, Alida and Louis Janotte - going back to France in the 1500s.
Over the years, I’ve been fascinated by the story of one of my ancestors – Anne de Quain. Her claim to fame is her status as one of some 800 “Filles du Roi” sent by King Louis XIV to … ahem … populate New France. In nearly 20 years since I’ve first heard her name, genealogists have uncovered a trove of records, and I’m learning to let go of a lot of misconceptions!
Anne was born to Florimond and Henriette de Quain in Usseau, Poitiers, France, and was baptized in the spring of 1645. For so long, the story has been that the “King’s Daughters” were women orphaned or without dowries (now I’m humming ‘there must be more than this provincial life!’) but it’s more likely they were recruited, often by their parish priests. According to Wikipedia:
Those chosen to be among the filles du roi and allowed to emigrate to New France were held to scrupulous standards, which were based on their "moral calibre" and whether they were physically fit enough to survive the hard work demanded by life as a colonist. The colonial officials sent several of the filles du roi back to France because they were deemed below the standards set out by the king and the Intendant of New France.
… Many were orphans with very meagre personal possessions, and with a relatively low level of literacy. Socially, the young women came from different social backgrounds, but were all very poor. They might have been from an elite family that had lost its fortune, or from a large family with children "to spare."
So, what possesses a woman barely 24 years old to leave seven siblings and trek 270 miles from Usseau to Dieppe, to board the ship Le St Jean-Baptiste with 148 other Filles du Roi and to cross the Atlantic for New France? And what must she have thought when she arrived in Quebec on June 30, 1669?
Just four months later, she was married to François Lareau, a carpenter, in a church that was built 2 years after she was born, Notre-Dame de la Paix (now the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec). Five years passed before they had their first child Marie-Anne, born April 1674. What happened during those years? Whatever it was worked itself out because they had five more children over the next decade.
And it seems they did pretty well for themselves, too. According to the census of 1681, she and François Lareau owned “1 rifle, 4 horned animals, as well as 15 arpents of land.”
Anne de Quain’s death was recorded on February 6, 1734, and she was buried the next day at Notre-Dame de Québec. According to the burial record, she was “In a very old age and in childhood for a few years, about 90 years old.”
Twenty years ago, when I first read the name Anne de Quain, I wondered about the things she didn’t have that would have made a life in New France appealing – wealth? A family? Prospects for marriage? As I’ve learned just a few more tantalizing details about her, I think more about the things she likely had in abundance: courage, curiosity, and faith.
Who would I be today – 8 generations later – if Anne de Quain hadn’t boarded the St. Jean-Baptiste 352 years ago? As I continue to leap into experiences, challenge myself, and try to learn something new every day, I like to think that Anne de Quain’s legacy is living on in me.
What traits have your ancestors given you?
Drop me a line – let’s make #SmallTalk!
For further reading:
Lonely Colonist Seeks Wife: The Forgotten History of America's First Mail Order Brides - by Marcia Zug
Excerpt from Duke Journal of Gender and Law Policy (Fall 2012), published in Sent by the King, Newsletter of La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan (Spring 2017).
As the great wheel of the year turns, few months are as eventful as March.
Most years, the first sign of warmer days ahead is a glimpse of winter aconite in our garden. These small yellow flowers are very early bloomers, and I usually spot them around St. Patrick’s Day. The first photo in the slideshow is from March 3, and the snowdrops, and aconite with bonus crocus are from March 11.
Daylight Savings Time began at 2:00 a.m. on March 14. But even before the clock change, the days were getting noticeably longer. In Albany, on March 1, the sunrise/sunset times gave us 11 hours and 14 minutes of daylight. By March 31, we had gained 87 minutes of daylight, bringing us to 12 hours and 41 minutes total.
In 2021, the Spring Equinox happened on Saturday, March 20. Technically, in Albany, the closest we came to an equal day and night was on March 17, with 12:01:03 of daylight, but who’s counting?
Around that first day of Spring, I heard in quick succession my 3 favorite early season songbirds: Cardinal, Black Capped Chickadee, and Robin.
But more than just the longer days and warming weather, I allowed myself to feel some hope and a bit of relief for the first time in a long time, as I:
I saved the last page in my “COVID Diary” for the day I got my second shot. I started it back in March 2020 as a crude contact tracing tool. The second entry was “3/11 – Roundtable Lunch” – which is the last time that 40+ year old institution met, and the last time I went to the University Club.
I managed to fill up a lot of pages in the intervening 12 months, though. Not with events, but with observations about the simpler things in life – what I was cooking, reading, and dreaming.
As we march tentatively into 2021, what are you observing?
Drop me a line – let’s make #SmallTalk!
These next few weeks feel like the fulcrum between “pre-COVID” and “post-COVID.”
I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, February 25. It all happened very fast – I saw on Twitter that Albany County was opening a sign-up portal for the Times Union Center at 5 p.m., and at 5:19 p.m. I had an appointment for 46 hours later.
As I sat down at the table for the jab, I told the person taking my information that I was pretty sure the last time I was in the Times Union Center was for the Elton John concert. I thought it was a year ago, but turns out it was two years ago - March 1, 2019.
So is that what 2020 is going to be like? A disappeared year?
I feel like we’re in a liminal phase. We can begin to think about returning to “normal” – but what will that normal look like?
According to Wikipedia:
In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During a rite’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which completing the rite establishes.
We’re living through a once in a generation - or more - opportunity to examine, assess and prioritize what’s really important to us. None of us who have lived through 2020 will be the same as we were before 2020, but in some ways, that might be a good thing.
Right around the time of that Elton John concert, in March of 2019, I had just launched my new business, CMR Communications, and was taking a Women’s Leadership “boot camp.” One of the exercises was to develop a vision statement for the world I’d like to help create.
In this liminal time, I’m going to renew my efforts to build a community that:
Drop me a line – let’s make #SmallTalk!
In lieu of being able to talk to my 20-year-old self, I’m hoping that one of my young nieces or nephews will read this.
Be patient. It will all make sense some day.
I’ve always thought I had a nimble brain. I was a whiz at finding things in the library’s card catalogue (and now I feel ancient) which I believe has made me a better Googler.
In the before times, when we went places, I was the person at the event who would make connections among strangers. Tell me something about yourself, and I will find a way to introduce you to someone else, following even the finest of common threads. It’s a cool parlor trick.
Still, when I was in high school and college, I felt like I was learning lots of isolated things but struggling to piece them together. I knew the information was important, but I didn't yet know why.
As my teens turned to 20s and 30s and beyond, I realized that seemingly random facts were beginning to fit into a broader context. Each year brought additional threads of knowledge, acquired through reading, watching, doing, or living – and sometime entirely by accident. Those threads were organizing themselves into a sturdy warp for my loom of learning.
In middle school, I learned about de facto segregation. Later, I learned about redlining and how neighborhoods suffered from disinvestment. For three years, I chaired Albany’s Historic Resources Commission, and saw first-hand the problems that lower-income property owners in historic districts – with old housing stock – had making costly repairs to comply with the city’s preservation ordinance. Just last year, I read several books that opened my eyes to the role systemic racism has played in preventing people of color from getting mortgages or buying property, and how that prevented families from building up the generational wealth that comes from home ownership.
Philanthropic organizations are suddenly making millions of dollars available to try to address America’s legacy of inequity and injustice. According to a recent article in Forbes:
“Profit-driven investing has often fueled extractive capitalism, damaging the environment and harming marginalized communities. Impact investing is so named because it has infused positive social and environmental impact alongside financial returns. To advance economic justice, the investment community as a whole, including venture capital and major banks, must change the way it invests, which currently leaves out people of color in huge margins. Federally certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) can help investors direct their capital — through purposeful lending — to the places that traditional financial institutions won’t invest.”
Through my work with the NYS CDFI Coalition and the Leviticus Fund, I’m fortunate to play a small role in righting our historic wrongs in truly innovative ways.
So be patient, my young friends, and keep learning.
One day you’ll find that things make sense. You might even find your calling.
Drop me a line – let’s make #SmallTalk!
Despite the pandemic, 2020 was a very good year for CMR Communications.
In December 2019, I had 2 retainer clients – a lobbying firm and a co-working site – and 2 prospects. I was negotiating a contract with the Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany (NABA) as a grantwriter and had just entered into talks with the NYS Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Coalition for a 3-month gig to manage their annual meeting at the end of March.
When the pandemic hit, I quickly lost the original two clients, but NABA needed me more than ever as they applied for COVID response grants. In addition to having to convert many of their services to virtual delivery, they quickly retooled their production operation to fabricate cloth masks and help check the spread of Coronavirus among some of New York’s most vulnerable residents. NABA provides a full range of services to people who are blind or visually impaired, helping them to achieve or maintain their independence. NABA never turns anyone away and are the only agency for the blind in New York providing services to incarcerated individuals.
The NYS CDFI Coalition annual meeting was canceled 2 weeks before it happened, but my contract was redrawn from event coordinator to Consulting Executive Director. CDFIs all around the state responded to community needs as conduits for Payroll Protection Program loans and began to offer online technical assistance and other webinars as businesses tried to weather the shutdown. We took on the cause of the NYS Small Business Truth in Lending Act to protect borrowers from predatory lending and celebrated when the Governor signed the bill into law on December 23. And we transformed our 2-day in-person annual meeting to a series of webinars and panel discussions throughout the fall.
Just before the New York pause, in February, I met with a prospective client, the NYS Kinship Navigator. The Kinship Navigator is an information, referral and advocacy program for kinship caregivers - individuals caring for children who are not biologically their own. For those of you following this blog, you know that while they wanted to hire me, they needed to hire a Minority/Women’s Business Enterprise. I had planned to seek certification after a year in business (effectively, February 2020) and was certified as a WBE in record time, in May, 2020. I began working on outreach for the Kinship Navigator that same month.
In October, I received a call from one of the board members of the NYS CDFI Coalition, the Executive Director of the Leviticus Fund. He was looking to fill a newly created position of Resource Development Officer, but needed someone with certain communications, fundraising and membership management skills, and with knowledge of the CDFI industry. I said, “well, that sounds a lot like me!” In December, I took on the tasks of increasing resources to support Leviticus’ work, including membership expansion, advancing initiatives to secure investments from faith-based colleges and universities, and developing and implementing a Legacy Fund.
When I look back on the 2nd anniversary of launching CMR Communications in January, I’ll do so with a profound sense of gratitude and wonder. How is it that in just 2 years, I’ve built a portfolio of clients who are all working – among different constituencies – to make the world a better place? Whether advocating for people with blindness; or children whose parents are unable to care for them; or the banks, credit unions and community foundations that invest in underserved neighborhoods and businesses; my clients are all bending that long arc of history toward justice. I am honored to be working with them.
I firmly believe that 2021 will give us all an opportunity to redouble our efforts to make our world a more peaceful and equitable place – at local, statewide, national and international levels. What are your intentions for 2021? Drop me a line! Let’s make small talk.
Colleen M. Ryan is an