To all of the nonprofit leaders that encouraged your staff, board, volunteers, and program participants to vote yesterday, I would like to congratulate and thank you. As Oregonians, we elected hundreds of officials, from local school board members, city commissioners, state and federal representatives and senators, to our Governor, and all the way up to the President of the United States.
Across the state, we collectively decided ballot initiatives and approved bonds. We did all of this as part of our most important right as a citizen: voting. Some of you reading this may feel bruised by elections and ballot measures that were hard-fought and too often had a divisive tone. It is now time for people to come together. Whatever folks feel about the election results, up and down the ballot, Oregon nonprofits play an ever-increasing and critical role in our communities and must play a central role in bringing people together.
Charitable organizations are critical to the health, safety, beauty and joy of our communities. Nonprofits are where neighbors can gather to improve lives and strengthen communities through service. Nonprofit missions are as varied as the make-up of our communities. They provide services that empower, salve that heals, music that enlivens, art that beautifies, conscience that protects, and so much more. There is a nonprofit ideally suited to the interests and passions of every person. Working through nonprofits, we reconnect with our communities and rediscover what binds us together. I know that we will continue to make real and valuable differences across Oregon: from Astoria to Rome and from Milton-Freewater to Brookings. I also know that the public values and trusts nonprofits too.
With the new administration at the federal level and changes in state leadership in many positions, nonprofits have both a responsibility and opportunity to advocate to these policymakers on behalf of our missions and the important work we do. As the state association, NAO remains deeply committed to the success of the sector and will continue to do everything we can to support nonprofits and their leaders in being effective in achieving their missions. Most importantly, we as nonprofits need to ensure that we live our organizational values and engender the best in society.
I encourage you all – nonprofit staff, volunteers, board members – let’s invite people to join in the noble work we do. Your positive actions can help model the way for our elected leaders to follow. Let’s work together to unite, heal, and move our state and nation forward.