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From the President's Office, May 2008

Dear Friend:

The night sky and the nonprofit world …

What do we do, and why do we do it?

What got me thinking about these questions was a recent editorial by David Brooks in the New York Times. Brooks took time off from the grind of reporting on the presidential campaign to share an essay written by Michael Ward found in Books and Culture. The essay points out that "while we moderns see space as a black, cold, most empty vastness," those in the medieval ages found the heavens "rippling with signs and symbols … anthropomorphic life, dancing, ceremonial, a festival not a machine." Brooks observes that our modern perspective tends to create a world of "all fact and no meaning." We see "economics and politics as the source of human motives."

Today if your day is anything like mine, you'll be thinking about money, and people, and operational challenges. If you're lucky, your day may even include meeting with the people that your organization serves. For most of us it will be another day filled with computers, telephones, and too much to do. It's easy to lose sight of the essential and noble role of nonprofit organizations in our society and the specialness of what we do.

So when you get home tonight, take a moment to slow down, look up at the wonders of the nighttime sky, and take just a minute to reflect on what you do and why you do it. You are making a difference, and the stars are twinkling.

Sincerely

Bob Ottenhoff
President and CEO