Bell Hooks once said, “Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.”
I came to NAC four years ago because I wanted to help create this beloved community. Having grown up surrounded by messages that difference was dangerous, and experiencing the isolation, fear, and oppression that follows – I was fiercely committed to strengthening communities of color as leaders of the movement for social justice and forging relationships based in solidarity. I believed this was key to our collective liberation, and more than ever, I still do.
NAC was created with this same belief nearly 20 years ago and I have been deeply honored to carry forward this legacy alongside many talented and passionate people. Thus, it is with equal measures of gratitude and sadness that I am writing to share that I will be stepping down as NAC’s Executive Director in October to recommit to my own family and well-being.
Leading NAC from the brink of closure to the powerful movement-building work we do today in partnership with communities of color and funders committed to equity, has been an extraordinary journey. Together, we have made incredible strides towards justice, including:
- Expanding our cohort program designed with an intersectional racial equity analysis, has strengthened more than 40 organizations serving thousands of families in King County over the past four years.
- Partnering with public and private funders, including King County, to ensure that equity is embedded in the work so that initiatives like the $400 million Best Starts for Kids levy becomes an opportunity to get resources into the hands of communities most impacted by inequities and also the closest to the solutions.
- Forging partnerships with other communities of color-based organizations to develop The Delta Vision, a transformative approach to capacity building for communities of color, led by communities of color.
- Strengthening our deeply valued partnership with other POC-led capacity builders like Wayfind, whose work providing legal services to nonprofits in communities of color and low-income communities has powerfully complemented and strengthened our own work. By co-locating our offices, frequently making warm referrals, and jointly providing workshops and clinics – we have better served incredible grassroots organizations in Seattle and South King County.
This work has not been accomplished alone. Movement-building exemplifies the belief that every person committed to justice has a role, a place, a gift they can offer, as long as we are willing to listen and learn what that role is and to know that this role changes over time. As in a flock of geese, each bird takes turns at the front, ensuring that everyone will make the long migration. On this long road to justice, I am humbled and proud that we have built such a strong community, reflected in our staff, our Board, and in you – our beloved community. Doing this work alongside you has been a gift that I will treasure forever and as we step into this next chapter, I am confident that NAC’s work will continue to evolve in powerful ways and I will be there to support in whatever ways I can.
With my deepest gratitude,
A Note from NAC’s Board of Directors
On behalf of the Nonprofit Assistance Center’s Board of Directors, I want to share our deep and sincere gratitude to Sarah Tran for her leadership as Executive Director over the past four years. Her commitment to creating systemic change has significantly impacted the people and organizations leading movements for social justice in our community. Guided by Sarah’s unwavering and inspirational vision, NAC has grown into a regional expert and trusted partner to organizations and funders invested in equity work. Her passion and advocacy for the importance of strong community relationships will remain a lasting part of NAC’s legacy.
While we are sad to see her go, we look forward to the next part of her journey. We will celebrate Sarah and NAC’s role in our community at our annual VOICES event on Thursday, October 4th at Mt. Baker Community Club at 6:00 PM. Please join us in thanking Sarah for her significant contributions to NAC and continued support as a partner to us as we navigate this next chapter.
Please do not hesitate to reach me directly with any questions or thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Ciotti (Board President)