As my tenure as the NFWFWF president comes to an end, I am reflecting a bit on the path that led me to the role in the first place. About five years ago on a snowy North Fork day I attended a house meeting. I thought the agenda was going to be a general NFWFWF strategic planning session with some fresh faces invited to possibly contribute ideas. However, it turned out to be a subdued gathering that very well could have meant the end to our organization for similar reasons that our South Fork sister organization had terminated — questions of relevance, leadership, participation, and sustainability. I certainly did not anticipate that by the time I left the meeting I would be on the board and would later become treasurer and eventually president.
This year started with us marching in Washington, DC or NYC or wherever you were. Posters in hand, hats on heads, women everywhere! It was empowering, and I can’t wait for this year’s march, which is scheduled for Saturday January 20th. Later a packed house at Bedell Cellars as Mary Dorman accepted the Founders award, laughs each first Friday with new friends and old, peace and solace provided by eloquent speakers in a beautiful setting as many attended the North Fork celebration of Edie Windsor’s life. This year it was a chilly yet successful auction. Thank you to everyone who donated their time or an auction item. Thank you too for all who attended or purchased an auction item. Anyone who has worked on the auction knows it is a monumental feat that it takes place each year. If you could not attend, check out this slide show which shows the event.
We received two bequests from estates this year and one very major gift-donation, which was announced at the auction. Please remember NFWFWF in your estate plan! For example, any IRA dollars left to individuals are taxable to that person, however, those same dollars would not be taxable to our 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Beneficiary designations supersede wills, consider leaving a percent of yours to NFWFWF. Please contact us for any information you may need to include us in your estate.
Board development remains strong, but we can always use a few more good women on our team, please consider joining. We currently have a board that has members with ages ranging from their 30’s to 70’s, an important factor now and originally to the founding mothers.
Regarding leadership, we have your next ‘president’ Marjorie Snyder to thank for instituting the organizational succession plan that I conveyed to you in my first letter. A structure that will gently push me to a position called ‘past president’ in 2018 (a role where I am still a voting board member) and has already teed up your ‘future president’ Bernadette Hoban. With planned continuity and the competence of Marj and Bernie, the future of the North Fork Women for Women Fund is radiating brightly and forward.
Where in times of transition other organizations have disbanded, I hope we can resolve to stay together as a community for the next 25 years. We are relevant and sustainable. To endure we all need to participate, be inclusive, adjust to change, stay connected, reach out, and to “show up”. It really is not asking much.
I wish you all joy and good health in 2018
Kathleen Bresnan NFWFWF President
P.S. Friday January 5th FFF is at Brix and Rye in Greenport. I hope to see you there.