I'm an early morning runner, have been for years. In the winter this means I rise at dawn and end when the sun is up. For the past 10 years, I've run pretty much the same neighborhood loop three times a week in Belfast, Maine in the company of a good friend who lives close by. Over the years, we've come to know every stretch of the streets underneath, allowing us to pace, anticipate and adjust course as necessary. It's habitual at this point, though it's now destined to become a memory.
In the last three weeks, I've re-established a running route in Lenox. While it's a little less familiar, it's a loop I've run when visiting my parents here. I'm getting to know more of the specifics, however - the flow of cars going off to work, some kindred spirits who are out early in the morning, the bus that stops in town early in the morning, and the spectacular sunrise that comes up over the mountains. It is indeed a special place I'm getting to know better every day.
In much the same way, starting out at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation is certainly a new experience, yet there are elements that are familiar to me.
Berkshire Taconic, as with the Maine Community Foundation where I previously worked, is a strong, venerable foundation built over the years through the tireless leadership of donors, board members and staff like Jennifer Dowley, whom it's my privilege to follow as president (a photo of us together last month is below). In fact, both community foundations were established in part because of the visionary leadership of the late Bob Blum of Salisbury and Mount Desert Island. Bob shared a deep love of this region and the state of Maine and believed in the power and potential of community foundations.
I also have some familiarity with the region because of longstanding family ties. My parents have had a home in Lenox for more than 25 years and it's been our primary gathering spot. Outside of Maine this region feels the most like home. To be able to guide this community foundation in this region at this time in its history is an exciting leadership opportunity.
Like Maine, this is also a region where community matters. Relationships matter. Philanthropy is much more effective when it's built on strong relationships. After nearly three decades, Berkshire Taconic has unique expertise in bringing together a far-reaching community of donors, nonprofits, volunteers and other partners to do good work in the region they love.
And finally it's familiar to help lead an aspirational, mission-driven organization. Together we believe that Berkshire Taconic, and philanthropy more broadly, can be a catalyst for change, a stalwart for nonprofits and students, and a leading force for strengthening our communities and improving the quality of life of all residents.
The path forward is known and unknown, informed by our history and inspired by the new possibilities we will imagine together. I look forward to being on this exciting road with you.