Ideals into Action

I thought some of you might want to add your thoughts regarding a conversation we had at the end of our Board meeting last night.

You may know that we currently have a Long Range Planning committee working on organizing our programs, establishing evaluation procedures, raising revenue for our ongoing expenses, and looking forward to creating a climate of energy and enthusiasm here over the next five years.

What does that last line “creating a climate of energy and enthusiasm” mean?

To me, to others on the committee, it means helping and encouraging our members and others toward action based on our ideals.

It means promoting the projects we already do (such as through the work of our Ethical Action committee members and others) like the Women’s Self-Help Center, Room At The Inn, and Lydia House, as well as starting new outreach in partnership with other organizations that we can all share in, young, old and in-between, to promote good work in the community. It may also mean re-establishing some projects in the Society that have previously been started but, through no fault of the program, simply run out of gas in terms of volunteer effort. (I am thinking specifically of Forum for The Open Mind.) It may also mean joining with new groups that have been suggested by members but as yet have not been acted on such as the AMACHE program and Mentor-St.-Louis.

Of course, all of this is reliant on the interest of members in making it happen. We hope, through our Long Range Plan, to establish ways to make it easier. To promote a “can-do” mentality among our members. To fuel the enthusiasm by promoting from within, by communicating better, by listening more. But we need to hear from you. Sometimes to get attention, you need to raise your voice. And give the time it takes to get it started. We CAN help, we hope to create better mechanisms for assisting, but you be the guide.

It also means–to me and to some others–looking down the road in a larger way to how our Society can reach out in the community on our own–be our own agents for change and good. How can we utilize our endowment money, which was meant to promote Ethical outreach and Ethical Culture beyond our walls, toward helping others in this community? Toward better living for more people—both practical and ideal? Toward greater cooperation? Toward understanding? Toward peace?

What kinds of program or effort (think REALLY big here) would our members be interested in? What kinds of needs are there in the St. Louis community that are not currently being served by some other organization that we can uniquely provide? Who can benefit from our interest? From the talent and willingness among members in our community? From our money? From our desire?

Our discussion went back and forth between ongoing projects that currently exist that we can bring more to light in the Society and through which we can partner with other organizations, to this kind of down–the-road visionary type of thing that will really create something new and useful.

Ideas? Thoughts? Hopes? Dreams? What excites you? What are your passions? What needs do you see in the community that are not being addressed? For today–and tomorrow?