2020 is Now Hindsight

2020 is Now Hindsight

Chapter Leadership Brief 1.15.21

By Jill Scibilia, CFRE, AFP-NYC President-Elect
Vice President, Development
Phelps Hospital, Northwell Health

2020 is now hindsight. I entered the New Year filled with a sense of hope for the healing that is sure to come to our fractured world: a world that continues to battle a global pandemic and a country that faces conflict and division.

Then a few days later, I watched in horror as the events unfolded in Washington, DC. Violence erupted in our Nation’s Capitol. Our democratic process was threatened.  Lives were lost. The fallout and reckoning from the events on January 6th have only just begun. Lessons will follow from what was a seminal day in our history. 

The challenges we face in this New Year are deep and pronounced. I will admit that when taken all together, these challenges can feel insurmountable to me. Or worse, they can even become like background noise crowding out everything else including the good that is in the world.

I have been asking myself how I can cut through the background noise and face these challenges. What is my role in doing so?  I certainly don’t have all of the answers.  Here is how I am approaching 2021. While 2020 is hindsight, I am trying to take a few lessons I learned during this strange, sad, tragic year to heart:

  1. Life and each moment we draw breath is precious.
  2. Every life deserves to be honored—despite and especially when—far, far too many are dying.
  3. Be Kind.
  4. “Lean in” to relationships and make the time and effort to connect whether it is a donor, loved one or colleague.
  5. Listen for the wisdom that comes from these interactions.
  6. Making a difference is not just about big ideas and gestures.  It is also about the everyday interactions we have with the person in front of us (or with whom we engage on zoom). It is often about what we call “the small stuff,” which we know is not so small at all. 
  7. As a professional fundraiser I have the opportunity—and dare I say the responsibility—to help people respond to the challenges we face in the world by connecting them with tangible ways they can support. 

What’s on your list? We all have an opportunity and role to play towards healing our fractured world. 

As Mother Teresa shared “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.  Let us begin.”

So let us begin today and each of the days we are given to make the world a better place. 

Think about your unique gifts and talents, and I hope you will engage in the conversation at the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  We are stronger when we work together and when more voices representing the deep, incredible diversity of our communities are represented. 

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to join us at our annual meeting on January 28thClick here to register or for more information.

Thank you for your leadership and commitment to professional fundraising—and for all you do to help people make a difference, one moment at-a-time.

With gratitude and hope,


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