2020: Focus on the Future

On January 3rd, I finished my first (whole) book of the year, toward a personal goal of 50 before December 31st. This is quite a feat for me. Graduate and professional school taught me the art and science of skimming books for the key points and most important chapters. Reading every word had become a thing of the past. But that won’t work for the future.

The book was FutureGood: How to Use Futurism to Save the World by Trista Harris. Trista and I served together on the board of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) when she led the Minnesota Council on Foundations. In the text, she probes, “What if the social sector could predict the future and prepare for the trends and coming realities that will impact their work?” She also lays out practical tips on how to curate a future-oriented perspective and build scenario planning into everyday life and work.

Each year, Harris and her team at FutureGood publish predictions for the coming year in the social sector. Among other things, for 2020 they project that “Foundations become more digitally savvy” and “Funders help defend democracy.” Deaconess hopes to do a bit of both. As Joe Goldman of the Democracy Fund shared with us in the Fall, “the next twelve months are going to be critical” for our collective future.

So, I’m glad Trista is helping me, and Deaconess, start the new year right. On January 23rd, she will spend a half-day with Deaconess’ Funded Partner organizations, helping them focus their work in the environment which lies ahead for our children and sector. When our joint boards meet for their annual overnight retreat, each member will receive copy of her book. Thanks to our local colleagues, she’ll also spend time with emerging leaders in our field and local philanthropic champions. If we’re not thinking and planning ahead this year, we’ve got no good excuse!

What is your future focus? What is it for your organization? At Deaconess 2020 is about building capacity inside and building power outside. We want sustainable policy wins for our kids. So, we’re taking the time to get our relationships, resources and results aligned.

Join us, as we build a brighter future for the children and youth of St. Louis.

For our children,
Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson
President & CEO

P.S. If Deaconess is funding a project at your organization, contact Michael at michaels@deaconess.org to join the January 23rd session with Trista.