By Sharon Goens-Bradley
Associate Regional Director, Midwest Region
What’s the role of a 102-year old Quaker organization in advancing radical, sustainable and equitable change in a world that’s rapidly shifting? To answer that question, AFSC began a strategic planning process a few months ago with the charge of re-envisioning the organization’s goals utilizing the motto “moving forward with unity for maximum impact.”
To the organization’s credit, this iteration of strategic planning has been highly collaborative. The Strategic Plan Working Group and our facilitation consultants, Consensus Building Institute, have sought out and involved as many constituents as possible. Everyone who’s been impacted by the organization - be they staff, volunteers, or community members - has been invited to participate in Phase I of the process. Many, many people have provided input into the direction of AFSC’s next 10 years.
St. Paul staff have provided valuable contributions to this process. Shanene Herbert, Healing Justice Program Director, is a member of the Midwest Region’s Community Consultations Facilitation team. She has had the opportunity to engage with community members in person about what challenges they face and how they’d most like to be supported. Dominique Diaddigo-Cash, Program Associate, has lent his voice and expertise to topics of “Migration and Displacement” and “Militarism and State Violence.” I’ve had the opportunity to observe several calls and have been educated, inspired and curious about our future.
In addition to revisioning our work, we’re also dialoguing about how we work. Issues of equality, power, transparency and decision-making are front and center as AFSC aspires to live into its highest values. Part of the strategic planning process will involve a series of authentic conversations which aim to further trust and healing while paving the way towards increased mutual understanding and clarity.
In a few weeks the Strategic Plan working group will enter into Phase II of their work - making sense of all of the input they’ve received. From there, five or six organizational goals will be proposed along with some recommendations for a sustainable future. With so much unknown and seemingly everything up in the air, it’s an exciting albeit stressful time to be in the organization.