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Charting A New Path Ahead

This campaign season has had a profound effect on our country, but now is the time to unify, rather than divide society further. We have the chance to glean something from this discord and chart a new path ahead.


November 11, 2016

By Tony Mestres, President & CEO

Dear Seattle Foundation friends and community partners,

We have all seen the political divisiveness and polarization reach new heights during this year’s election season. Regardless of what side you lean towards or who you voted for, the nature of this election has stirred a cacophony of feelings and anxiety about the future. It has also left many residents of our country wondering how we are going to find a path forward. This polarization has put American unity at risk like we’ve never seen before.

Those sentiments, combined with the inexcusable racialized violence sweeping our country, has also led to unthinkable division. That division keeps me and my team up at night, and closing that divide is, in part, why we all show up to work every day in support of Seattle Foundation’s mission to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all.

For me, this election puts an exclamation point on exactly the strategies Seattle Foundation supports, and the urgent need for us to step up and be an even more effective civic leader, fighting division and inequity in our communities. It also confirms the notion that the regional, place-based, grassroots, cross-sector work we are doing as the community’s foundation is critical and necessary.

As part of those efforts, earlier this year we launched the Vibrant Democracy Initiative aimed at increasing the participation and voice of communities of color and low-income people, in order to ensure our democratic process and resulting polices, laws, and budgets address the needs of all of our residents. Now more than ever before, it is critical that all voices be heard and that everyone can engage fully in the democratic process to shape the policies and systems that affect their lives.

This campaign season has had a profound effect on our country, but now is the time to unify, rather than divide society further. We have the chance to glean something from this discord and chart a new path ahead. It is our collective responsibility to ensure there is a place for everyone on that path, and that we do not leave anyone behind. This opportunity is at the very heart and science of what Seattle Foundation believes in and strives to do every day.  I am honored and humbled to be at the helm of an organization fighting these divisions and promoting equity and opportunity for all our residents. We have done well, but we must do better.  I welcome you all, as community leaders and partners in philanthropy, to provide input on how we can do this work better.

This is the time when the true essence and character of a community is revealed. Let’s seize this moment to build bridges, increase dialogue and fight division. Our community, and our country, deserves as much.

In solidarity,

Tony

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