The timeliness and significance of this year’s conference theme Collaborating for Community Change cannot be overstated. Foundations, governments, and individual donors at the local, regional and national level are more focused than ever on community impact and outcomes.
At the same time, all are coming to the realization that profound, systemic community change calls for deep collaboration, and not just between nonprofit organizations themselves. It takes a community to effect meaningful change and it’s never been more important to emphasize the value of collaboration between nonprofits, city and county governments, local businesses, and community members.
It’s no secret that affordable housing is a key issue here on the Olympic Peninsula, and one that bears a tremendous impact on quality of life and community health. Our Keynote Speaker, Marty Kooistra, was selected to lead this year’s conversation because of his expertise in affordable housing, and in bringing diverse people and organizations to the table to work on solutions to the housing crisis.
VALUE OF COMMUNITY COLLABORATIONS
Marty heads up the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County, a 170-member association focused on affordable housing. He has been a champion of community revital-ization, strategic alliances, and affordable housing for 30 years.
In the early 2000s, Marty worked with a kindred spirit, Harvard University Professor Jane Wei-Skillern, whose research on networked nonprofits struck a chord with Marty. He has been sharing the value of, and the leadership principles for community collaborations ever since.
Similarly, our Panelists and Breakout Session Leaders represent examples of three unique partnerships making substantial change here on the Olympic Peninsula.
Jefferson LandWorks Collaborative:
Sarah Spaeth, director of Conservation and Strategic Partnerships at Jefferson Land Trust will represent Jefferson LandWorks Collaborative, a network of local nonprofit partners working to make “working lands” in Jefferson County productive and profitable, thus ensuring long-term viability.
Each of the LandWorks partners provide expertise in different areas to help farmers and foresters succeed in Jefferson County. As a group, LandWorks partners work closely with farmers, foresters and other landowners offering assistance in securing and preserving land, financial advising, marketing opportunities, educational training, and resource management.
Olympic Peninsula Healthy Communities Coalition:
Dr. Monica Dixon, co-founder and past president of the Olympic Peninsula Healthy Communities Coalition (OPHCC), will share the story of how a few passionate leaders in Clallam County grew to a 501(c)3 representing over 40 leaders from the non-profit, business, education, health care and government sectors, working together to make our county a healthier place to live. From its humble beginnings in 2015 using a small grant from Olympic Community View Foundation, a needs assessment was conducted with local leaders to determine interest in building a larger coalition to help reverse our county's negative health trends. Through resource and idea sharing at monthly meetings, OPHCC quickly grew to share the 5-2-1-0 health initiative to tens of thousands of local residents and trained hundreds of our leaders to expand their impact even more broadly. OPHCC has received awards at the regional and state level for its successful model of community-building and collaboration.
Chris Fidler of Waterfront Center Group:
A native of Port Angeles, Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Saint Martin’s College and a Master of Science from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, as well as a Certificate in Languages from the Goethe Institute in Bremen, Germany. Chris was also a member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Washington’s nationally ranked Foster School of Business from 2000 to 2010.
Prior to joining the Port Angeles Waterfront project, Chris led strategic planning and business development for the Petrizzo Group, a D.C.-based bipartisan lobbying firm whose Pacific Northwest clients included Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and Vulcan, Inc. Chris previously served as Director of Grants and Contracts for the Geneva Foundation overseeing more than 160 military medical research studies conducted at over 40 U.S. Department of Defense sites worldwide.
Chris Fidler of Waterfront Center Group, and its site partners, Feiro Marine Life Center, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Foundation,and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, will create a vibrant, welcoming destination celebrating people, history and natural environments - the core of arts, science and culture on the Olympic Peninsula.
Executive Director of Feiro Marine Life Center:
Melissa Williams, Executive Director of Feiro Marine Life Center, and Deborah Moriarty, Chapter Director for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, will co-present a breakout session in the afternoon, during which they’ll discuss plans for the Marine Discovery Center – the science focus of the Waterfront partnership.
Melissa came to Feiro in May 2014 after holding positions of progressive responsibility over seven years at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, most recently as the Vice President of Learning. A lifelong informal science education professional, Williams has also held positions at the University of Arizona’s Flandrau Science Center in Tucson and the Adler Planetarium, Chicago. Her academic background includes an undergraduate degree in psychology from New College, Florida, focused on animal cognition and behavior, and a master’s degree in instructional leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Deborah Moriarty, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Chapter Director:
Deborah has been involved in the nonprofit world for more than twenty years. She has started a number of successful nonprofits in her own community, taking them from the grassroots’ need to building boards and strategic plans, to managing programs and facilities. Deborah thrives on problem solving; whether it is how to provide pre-k opportunities to lower income families or how to raise awareness of the effects of climate change on our ocean and on our communities. Deborah was raised on a homestead in northern British Columbia where everyday life was dictated by nature. Respect and wonderment for everything in and of the natural world is Deborah’s passion.
Deborah Moriarty, and Melissa Williams, Executive Director of Feiro Marine Life Center, will co-present a breakout session in the afternoon, during which they’ll discuss plans for the Marine Discovery Center – the science focus of the Waterfront partnership.