Highlights from Day 1:
Fahe President Sara Morgan opened the Member Meeting, after the Member rollcall, by reporting on recent Fahe activities. She said, “This year we worked together to complete a theory of change and have published a new Strategic Plan to guide the Fahe network forward. At our annual meeting we will discuss the new Strategic Plan and launch working groups based on the four strategic areas of focus identified in the plan.”
“I am happy to report that we ‘stuck the landing’ with our finances, ending in the black, meeting net income as well as operating funds goals.” -Sara Morgan
Fahe CEO Jim King addressed the group next, reflecting on the urgency of increasing investment for the region, saying, “Did you know that persistent poverty counties still only get 1/10 of the support that philanthropy and private capital spends? That’s not good enough.”
“It’s time for us to be recognized as folks who need to be in the room. We need to be properly funded to do the job we’re already doing, we should be helping to frame the problem and introducing the solutions with federal, private, and philanthropic dollars.” – Jim King
Next, Fahe Senior VP of Membership Vonda Poynter and Fahe Chief Communications Officer Lina Page led lively discussion roundtables that explored and captured diverse Member perspectives on the Four Corners in our Strategic Plan.
The Four Corners—Money, Capacity, Narrative, and People—are derived from the Fahe theory of change. They will guide the network to realize our five-year vision as stated in the Strategic Plan.
“From an advanced Member survey we learned that 84% of respondents feel that Increasing Investment is highly relevant to their organizations.” – Vonda Poynter
She added, “We want to encourage your input regarding how each of the Four Corners resonate with your work.” Vonda invited Members to sign up for one of four Working Groups that are currently being formed– Money, Capacity, Narrative, and People. These groups will be active throughout the upcoming year. Members can email Vonda Poynter to join one of the groups.
Fahe VP of Advocacy Maggie Riden gamified best practices in advocacy storytelling as she and her team led a rousing competition called the Gift of Gab amongst the caucus groups to first collectively author, and then shorten, a memorable description of their work. The Tennessee Caucus took home the prize with their winning description.
“We are a collective of small businesses serving Tennessee, providing housing opportunities for upward economic mobility. Housing: It is more than a foundation.” – Fahe Tennessee Caucus
During a distinctly moving keynote address that evening, Oweesta President & CEO Chrystel Cornelius spoke of the similarities between remote, rural Native communities and communities in the Appalachian region, saying ,“we are much like you, but a little bit different.” Cornelius added that she saw “a kindness, honor, and integrity in the people who live in these regions” and “despite the lack of housing and lack of employment our people will say that home is still my favorite place.”