As I write this the Partnership stands at the edge of a cliff, is ready to jump, and—I believe—will soar. How long have we discussed a move to Washington, D.C.? Now, we are on the verge of signing a lease—a great location, a space that will make each of us proud, and a place for our members to hang their hats when they are in town. It’s well under budget. Lease terms are negotiated and documents ready to sign. Fingers crossed.
How long have we talked about full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund? Congress is in mid-leap, ready to make that happen. (Update: The House passed the Great American Outdoors Act on July 22, 2020, which the President signed into law on August 4, 2020).
How long have we talked about Executive Director succession? It was an integral part of the 2016 Strategic Plan discussions. Our founder Gary Werner carried us far, but change is a constant—Gary retired last February. Partnership past-president Liz Bergeron led the Transition Task Force. I know how hard they worked; I was one of them. I’m grateful to Mary Stelletello of Vista Global, our consultant and guide. Hours ago, the ink not yet dry on an agreement, I first spoke to Valerie Rupp in her role as “Executive-Director-in-waiting.” You’ll read more about Valerie in the next issue of Pathways, but I am heartened by her experience, enthusiasm, and track record bringing diverse communities together.
How long have we talked about diversity, equity, and inclusion? Frankly, not long enough. This subject is so important, to the Partnership, to our public spaces, and to our country. We adopted a Statement of Inclusion in February. We issued a Statement of Solidarity in June. But now starts the hard work. I am personally committed, I am ready to listen, learn, and help us start on this path. Change comes from each one of us; it will not happen overnight.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the incredible work of Karen Crossley and Kathy DeCoster. In this interim, February to August, we have been so ably led. We all owe you a debt.
Barney Scout Mann
Board President, PNTS