After a year of scheming and a months of planning, we kicked off our first round of CommonWealth on Wednesday–and had a great time doing it!
Of course, because Seattle Works can’t resist a little cheese, we started the session by having participants create their “donor personal ads,” to introduce themselves to the group and tell us a little bit about why they were there. We saw a lot of similarities in what they wrote: new donors, passion, transparency, high impact.
We invited four panelists working in education and youth development organizations in Seattle–SOAR, New Futures, City Year at Aki Kurose Middle School and Stand for Children Washington–to speak with CommonWealth participants about some of the biggest issues in their fields. The group talked for an hour about everything from early childhood education, empowering parents, the unique challenges faced by immigrant students and what it means for these organizations to measure success. Needless to say–we could’ve talked for hours.
Next, the group was guided by Gabe Aeschliman from The Seattle Foundation through exercises that helped them identify the values that motivate them as individuals and figure out the common values and interests of the group. What were some common themes? Valuing community, integrity, justice and compassion–shared interests in early education, high-risk students, addressing root issues, building the capacity of organizations and scaling current successful projects.
Over the course of the next five days, CommonWealth-ers will develop mission statements to capture their group goals and drive their research on organizations over the next few weeks. Where will their $1,375 end up? Stay tuned!