Although it is almost September, I am still elated about our Knowledge is Power National Conference in May and from all the energy that our grantees and members created for our mission and our future. At the closing of the conference, I told our audience that the conference felt like a launchpad. I think we all witnessed the transformative power of our organization and saw a vision for what our organization can be in the future. What a powerful way to propel us forward into setting the vision for the coming years.
In 2018, it is exciting to report that have already completed many of the goals of the 2020 Vision that we announced in 2015. We’ve launched our Advocacy Program, our diversity and inclusion efforts are under way, and we’ve greatly increased our member engagement opportunities through our Travel Program, the National Conference, our annual “Biggest Chapter Meeting of the Year”, and much more. It is also wonderful to report that we now have 430 chapters and are steadily growing.
With this solid foundation in place, we are ready to investigate how Dining for Women can impact the transformation of women and girls living in poverty more significantly in the future. At the conference we sought general input from members and grantees through a session held by DFW Co-Founder Barb Collins and board member Cynthia Radford, as well as through “vision” cards which conference attendees completed. This was just the first of many activities planned to contribute to our next planning efforts.
This fall, we are convening four separate retreats for DFW national volunteer committees to participate in envisioning DFW’s future:
- The Grant Selection Committee spent a day with our strategic planning facilitator to explore our mission, vision, and theory of change, assumptions, and impact.
- During a retreat dubbed the “Program Integration Retreat”, we brought together members of our Advocacy Committee, Grant Selection Committee, Regional Leader Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Education Team to consider our mission, vision, and theory of change, assumptions, and impact. In addition, we mapped the intersections of our various programs and explored how we can connect and integrate our programs more in the future.
- The Regional Leader Committee will convene in September to spend a day similar to the Grant Selection Committee’s experience.
- In October, the DFW Board of Directors will spend two days exploring the findings of the previous meetings, as well considering the mission, vision, and theory of change in the context of current socio-political, economic, and cultural environments.
After these four gatherings, there will be additional opportunities for input, including a targeted survey for all members to provide their views and respond to new ideas. We value the talent, expertise, and perspective of our members and will continue to include as many voices as possible in our strategic planning.
Our aim is for the DFW Board of Directors to adopt a new strategic plan in May 2019. In addition to adopting the strategic plan, we will adopt a business plan to support the strategic plan financially.
I hope that each of you will take the opportunity, when presented, to help us to set the future direction of DFW!