The Art of Giving Back

July 16th, 2008

Love and Transgression

Every once in awhile I get a fund request from one of my several alma maters and I'm reminded of what I received from the time I spent in school.  Sometimes I just recycle the letter, but often I will stop and write a check - not only because I care about my personal experience, but because I know that my support will help insure that those institutions exist for future generations.

Recently, an old professor of mine tracked me down and wrote an email asking after me. He let me know that he has since retired and is now Emeritus.   It was wonderful hearing from him. I recalled that his lessons have stood me in good stead over the years, and that his presence in my life meant a lot to me.  I took a minute and wrote him back, thanking him for his many gifts. I hate to admit it, but the "thank you" was long overdue.

For the first time in Rockwood's history we are formally reaching out to our 2000 alumni to encourage you to invest in our future Some of you have financially supported us over the years, and for that I thank you.  This may be the first time others of you will make a financial gift to us, and I thank you in advance for the gift.

I'm hoping that you will not recycle this request, nor will it take you as long as it took me to acknowledge my professor of so long ago.  This is a good time to take a moment and invest in Rockwood.  Our work is hardly over, and we'd like to be around for many years, so that the next generation of leaders has a place to learn, connect and get the support they need as they work to transform the world.  Rockwood believes that nonprofit leadership can and should reflect the diverse communities in which we live and work, so to keep our trainings affordable we typically underwrite from 50% to 80% of the cost of all our trainings.  To continue to do this, we need your support.

I've become a Rockwood sustainer, and I invite you to join me with a donation of $10, $20 or $50 a month on your credit card by clicking here.  It's safe and protected information--and your donation will support the participation of hundreds of fellow activists, organizers, and policy advocates who want and need the tools and skills that Rockwood trainings provide. Leadership is one of the best investments one can make, and your support will insure that we are healthy and vibrant for years to come.


June 2008

Highlights from the Last Year


  • Hold nine Art of Leadership trainings between January and June, strengthening the effectiveness of 198 established and emerging leaders.
  • Have a smooth and successful transition from founding director Andre Carothers to Akaya Windwood who became Rockwood's President in January 2008.
  • Offer Fellowship Programs for national leaders each year working in Media Policy Reform LGBTQ Civil Rights and Advocacy. and
  • Develop new Art of Collaborative Leadership programs or Women in Racial Justice and Human Rights and leaders working in Global Climate Change and Climate Justice to be offered in the fall of 2008.
  • Begin new program development for leaders working in Socially Responsible or "Fourth Sector" business such as "Green Tech," "Green businesses," Fair Trade, organic foods, socially responsible financial management and investment, etc.
  • Host our fourth annual Foundation Executives Art of Leadership training in February 2008 with 22 experienced foundation professionals including program officers from Ford, Open Society Institute, Atlantic Philanthropies, Beldon Fund, Akonadi, and more. More than 150 foundation program officers and executives have benefited from Rockwood trainings.
  • Complete our 2007-2008 Year-Long "Leading from the Inside Out" Fellowship with 22 national leaders from notable organizations such as the National Immigration Law Center, MoveOn.Org, Energy Action Coalition, Global Fund for Women, the League of Young Voters, American Rights at Work, and many more.
  • Recruit two new Board members: Ludovic Blain and Greg Hodge, both are long-term social change activists.
  • Developed and rolled-out new Rockwood training curriculum reflecting feedback from alumni and incorporating a racial and economic justice lens into the trainings.
  • Created a partnership with the Fledgling Funds' Thousand Voices video campaign that promotes a diverse set of social justice leadership voices and stories. Several Rockwood alumni will be featured in the series.