October 2015 Annual Meeting

Project Redwood Perspective: 

Our Projects, Partnerships and Possibilities


We celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Project Redwood at the GSB Class of 1980’s 35th Reunion

We spent four fun filled days reconnecting with classmates as we relived the past, shared the present and planned for the future.    Prior to the official start of our 35th Class of 1980 Reunion, partners came together to socialize and hold a 2015 Project Redwood Annual Meeting and Strategy Session.  Russell Pyne graciously hosted a welcome dinner on Wednesday evening at his lovely home. The next day, 43 of us regrouped with 9 of our grantees for a review and planning session. We looked back at what we’ve learned and the impact we’ve made in providing over $1,600,000 in grants to support 69 projects since 2005.
The theme of the meeting was Project Redwood Grantees – Past and Future.  Over the course of the day, we covered an array of subjects revolving around the impact we are making across the globe.   Here are some program highlights:

What Does $25,000 Do Against Extreme Poverty?   Ed Kaufman led this session with a focus that described how Project Redwood grants contributed to the programmatic success of5 of our grantees.  A panel discussion included:  Rural Agency For Development, represented by sponsor Skip West; Daraja Academy, by founder Jason Doherty; Development In Gardening by founder Sarah Koch;  Cristo Rey New York High School by sponsor Rick Agresta; and Frontier Housing by director Stacey Epperson.

* Measuring Impact was led by Rich Jerdonek and Kristi Smith Hernandez, and featured 3 grantees: Loren Crary of Educate!, Diane Calvi of Village Enterprise, and Sarah Koch of Development In Gardening.  Each presented the challenges and successes they’ve encountered in measuring program impact.

* The Incubator Project – Susy Whitcomb, founder of Haitian Education Initiatives, Martha Clark, project sponsor, and Dave Fletcher, leader of the Incubator Initiative, presented an update on the efficacy of providing multi-year financial and non-financial support to grantees.

Where Are They Now? Throughout the day short videos were screened showcasing several of our past grantees, describing their work and the success they have achieved through Project Redwood support.

Project Redwood’s New Grantees for 2016 were presented in a brilliant video written and produced by Laura Power.  This video also played a key role in a subsequent classmate appeal that successfully raised funding for all nominated projects.

As major milestones are wont to do, we also used the occasion to assess just how we can and should move forward to keep our efforts thriving.  In anticipation of our meeting, we had retained a nonprofit consultant to help us set up a framework for managing our efforts into the future. Kiki Karpen led a discussion covering a range of topics:

* How Does Project Redwood Thrive Going Into The Future?  that gave us a great framework in which  to think about our possibilities.   The key outcome of this session was to put in motion a strategy retreat for January of 2016 to map out Project Redwood’s 5 year strategic plan, The Pathway to 2020.   (A separate page covers this meeting. Pathway to 2020)

* Special Recognition  To close the meeting Donna Allen and Ken Inadomi presented Stanford “Game Balls” to six partners for their exceptional contributions during Project Redwood’s first 10 years:  Rich Jerdonek, Phil Jonckheer, Ed Kaufman, Laura Power, Mary Pruiett, and Mike Watt.   A final award to Carol Head cited her exemplary leadership in “igniting the spark in 2005 that led to the founding and flourishing of Project Redwood.”

It was quite a day….so much covered and yet every one of us left the day energized and excited about the future.   We will share regular updates, so be sure to keep an eye out for emails and website updates (www.projectredwood.org) to learn of our progress along our ‘Pathway to 2020.’