With the dawning of a new year and a new decade, there is an energy and excitement in the air as we look ahead to a fresh start. Since my appointment as President & CEO of OneStar Foundation this past fall, I have had the opportunity to meet with partners and stakeholders to discuss their goals and vision for Texas. Many of us are seeing 2020 as an opportunity to finally take action on our well-laid plans. Well, it sounds like this is the year we are going to get things done!
As we embark on a new chapter together, a few critical themes have emerged that we must bear in mind as we build the foundation for a successful decade.
- In a state as expansive and diverse as Texas, we will find our strength in collaboration. In my recent conversations, I have found an extraordinary willingness from organizations and individuals to work together for the greater good of Texas. One of OneStar’s priorities in the coming year is to cultivate a unified statewide voice for the nonprofit sector built on common needs and goals. Expanding on the report Built for Texas: The Impact and Opportunity of Our Nonprofit Sector, published last year in partnership with United Ways of Texas, we will be supporting sixteen regional meetings throughout the state this quarter to have relevant conversations with you about how we can better collaborate to overcome shared barriers and tell the story of our sector. Stay tuned for how you can get involved in a regional convening near you!
- Texas is big – and it continues to grow at an impressive rate. We have the fastest growing economy in the United States and currently top the charts in population growth. The pressing question is how we can be strategic and thoughtful about how we approach the challenges and opportunities of this growth. During our board meeting and annual grantee meeting with our AmeriCorps Texas programs next month, we have invited Dr. Steve Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau and State Demographer of Texas, to discuss demographic trends in Texas and the projected impacts on social issues, such as health and education. We hope to use these insights to inform how we can leverage and promote service and volunteering for maximum impact in the coming decade.
- The definition of what it means to serve your community is expanding. Service and volunteerism has always been at the core of OneStar’s identity, but what that means in practice has evolved. We agree with our friends at Points of Light, who are looking beyond traditional labels like “volunteer” to create a world where it is easy to do good. This means encouraging people to do good in ways most meaningful to them, which certainly includes traditional community service—but may also entail advocating for a cause on your social media networks, voicing your opinion at a city council public forum, organizing a fundraiser for a worthwhile cause, dedicating a year to AmeriCorps, voting in your local election, and so much more. Service is a vehicle through which we all can make a difference in our communities, and this year OneStar will promote service in its many forms and make it impossible for Texans to sit on the sidelines.
Thank you to our partners and stakeholders who have given me such a warm welcome in my new role and have demonstrated continued enthusiasm for working together with OneStar. I look forward to listening and learning from all of you in the coming months and look forward to a productive new year!