With bittersweet emotion, I write today to report that in a few short months I will end my tenure as Executive Director at the Jackson Foundation. I am moving into a new phase in life, with exciting adventures still to be determined. In all, I have been at the Foundation for 27 years – and at the helm as director for nearly 25 years. I feel privileged to have taken this wonderful ride with all of you!
I came to the Foundation already committed to Senator Jackson’s legacy, having explored in graduate school the Jackson-Vanik Amendment’s impact on U.S.-Soviet relations. I understood the Senator’s human rights achievements and the role the Amendment played in bringing human rights to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy.
At the Foundation, I have been fortunate to explore more about Jackson’s accomplishments in other fields, notably in the environment, natural resources, and energy sector, but including topics as diverse as national security and Native American land and sovereignty. I felt lucky to learn from several of Jackson’s closest advisors, family members, and colleagues, who schooled me in Jackson’s values and principles. These Board members instilled in me a deep respect for the man, what he stood for, and the integrity and ethical basis on which he lived his professional life.
I am grateful to those with whom I worked on the Board for nearly three decades. We accomplished much in our time together; many also became good friends. I deeply appreciate their support of me and the Foundation staff.
I have served with more than a dozen wonderful colleagues here at the Foundation. You know who you are! I loved working with our staff, figuring out how best to reach our goals, thinking through proposals and strategy, moving ourselves into the digital age (yes, I started here before the Internet and email!), going to each other weddings, consoling each other through hard times, and staying friends through all of it. I’m glad that we stay connected, even though some have moved to Boston, London, Croatia, Pennsylvania, and other parts far and wide.
Five years ago, we started the Jackson Leadership Fellows program, one that I am proud to have developed. The Fellows have added an additional spark for me. They are inspirational, engaging, vibrant, intellectually challenging, and warm. They have brought a youthful element to the Jackson values. I’m privileged to have mentored several of them individually and all of them collectively, and I cherish those relationships. I plan to continue giving advice and buying coffees!
And of course, one learns early on in philanthropy that nothing can be accomplished without our community partners. It’s all of you who have made our vision a reality. It’s been an honor to sit with you, strategize, hear your concerns, and find a way to build your organizations with our resources. My door has always been open. This meant I learned from you, heard your wisdom, and gained much from associating with you. I believe in what you do and did my best to convey that enthusiasm and passion to our Board. Our partnerships have been meaningful. I will watch with pride as your work carries on.
The extended Jackson family of Scoop’s Troops – that’s how we’ve always thought of all those engaged with the Foundation, the Board, the Fellows, our community partners, and staff members – means the world to me. It’s impossible for me to reflect on my time at the Foundation without thinking warmly of this family. I’ll miss you, but we’ll stay in touch!
The Board will soon announce the search and selection process for my successor. I am confident that they will find an excellent leader for the organization. I look forward to seeing the Foundation develop and thrive in the decades ahead and will certainly do my part to keep the Jackson banner flying high.
With great fondness,