2016 Annual Meeting

2016 Project Redwood Annual Meeting

Approximately two dozen Project Redwood partners, along with a number of spouses, family members and guests, gathered on Friday, October 21st for the 11th Project Redwood annual meeting.  Thanks to the gracious hospitality of classmate Dave Power, we met on the campus of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, and had the beauty of a New England fall as our backdrop.

As always, the meeting combined opportunity to socialize and catch up even as we engaged in serious conversations about the future of Project Redwood. Those who arrived early enough on Thursday met for dinner.  Friday was a busy day filled with lively discourse and active participation of all in attendance.   Highlights of the day are summarized below.  


Meeting Highlights

Pathway to 2020 conversations:    A lively discussion that carried through the day validated we should stay the course with this ambitious strategy.  As a group, we believe Project Redwood can and should (1) continue to value/support the camaraderie we have experienced and (2)  simultaneously seek to engage a broader audience so our impact and reach can grow.  There seems to be receptivity across the Stanford community to hear the PRW story, so we will focus on sharpening our narrative so new outreach is productive. 

Committee updates:    Committee representatives reviewed recent activity:  

From those involved in grantee activities, we heard that our grant focus is now concentrated on just three areas (education, training and/or business job creation).  Further, there are a handful of topics where we believe our non-financial support will be most helpful, so we will assist with a capacity assessment and provide guidelines for board planning, financial controls, fundraising and strategic planning.

Committees more involved with the running of PRW have spent recent months streamlining our structure and taking advantage of the newly created role of Executive Director to manage workload more smoothly. Of note, we are expanding our communication activities to build more awareness across a larger Stanford audience and have established an Outreach committee to attract additional classmates from the Class of 1980 and an Expansion committee to attract the interest of others outside of our class.

Fundraising Progress:      We are on track to collect approximately $277,000 this year.  A small team headed by Phil Jonckheer plans targeted outreach and personal contacts with classmates in hopes we will exceed that level.

An Introduction to the Tides Foundation:   Tides associate Chaz Chasnow provided a brief overview of his organization and explained how they could be a more broad-based partner beyond their role to oversee our grant disbursements.

Additional speakers:

Kate Hayes shared an overview of Echoing Green, another nonprofit that has a mission similar to ours – supporting efforts of social entrepreneurs with ideas for social change. 

Alexei Dunaway, a recent Stanford grad and director of the non-profit, Ongoza, provided his comments and recommendations about Project Redwood’s expansion into other Stanford affiliates.

Updates from three of our current grantees

Development In Gardening  co-director Noah Derman described how our 7 grants over the years have enabled DIG to significantly expand their community garden model and develop the training guides that will help them scale into the future. 

Liezl Van Riper introduced us to myAgro, a new grantee that trains small farmers and provides a way for them to create the savings they need to fund annual crop planning.  They are using our monies to help 30,000 farmers increase the productivity of their land. 

Clara Chow from Generation Enterprise described how her organization is using our support to validate a program to support new business opportunities for at-risk youth.

Classmate stories of their personal involvement in the nonprofit world: 

Antonio Puron and Dave Power shared firsthand experiences of how they have stepped up their personal involvement in the nonprofit world.   Antonio introduced us to INOMA, the nonprofit he has launched in his home country of Mexico to address the inconsistent quality of public school education.  Dave joined us to talk about his personal journey that took him from being a supportive parent of a student attending The Perkins School for the Blind, to the role of president of the institution.  

The day wrapped with a happy hour and dinner on campus.  As the evening came to a close, we celebrated our collaborative efforts and toasted Ken Inadomi as he hands off the role of co-chair to Dave Fletcher.  And talk was already underway about next meetings and opportunities to regroup….. 

Our thanks to everyone who made the trip to Boston and helped us take the next steps forward on our Pathway to 2020.   Of note, we want to extend special thanks to our guests – grantee representatives Noah Derman from DIG, Clara Chow from Generation Enterprise, Liezl Van Riper from myAgro, Chaz Chasow from Tides Foundation, Alexei Dunaway from Ongoza and Kate Hayes from  Echoing Green.   

Click on the picture below for a link to more images of the weekend: