From the President and CEO
As we turn the calendar, it is tradition to reflect on the year past and refocus our intentions on the year ahead. This year I find myself embarking on this annual ritual with a profound sense of gratitude and humble responsibility as I start the year in my new role as President and CEO of The Rippel Foundation. When I joined Rippel as an Executive Vice President a little over a year ago, it was an opportunity to recommit to the work that first ignited my passion in public health and public service—the ideal that we can come together across communities to shape an equitable future in which health and well-being are truly accessible to all.
It makes me smile to think that my personal growth at this moment is very similar to that of Rippel. After more than 20 years in government service at the state and federal levels, I have the benefit of experience that time affords. At the same time, I am new to the field of philanthropy and recognize that there is much to learn. As Rippel enters its 70th year, it too has a rich history of expertise and accomplishments—and yet, it is relatively young following its reinvention 15 years ago through the ReThink Health initiative. We are at once “elders” and still in our youth. I firmly believe that is our mutual strength, because the work that lies ahead calls for the patience, wisdom, and humility that comes with experience, and the energy, hope, and ambition of youth.
At a time when we are faced with daily reminders of how unjust systems have failed so many fellow Americans, and the compound crises of climate change, inadequate health care, continued racial disparities, and a generation more familiar with active shooter drills than the freedom to play carefree through their neighborhood, it can seem like we are slipping backward. I will not suggest that the path toward a brighter future is easy, but I do insist that it is visible should we choose to follow it. It requires us to truly sit with our legacies of injustice, the pain they have caused, and the ways that they have led us into our fractured systems. We must hear, see, and feel each other to imagine a path forward that intentionally dismantles systemic injustices and promises never to repeat them. We must build our resolve to choose differently, knowing that business-as-usual practices do not serve us on a path to well-being.
At Rippel, we embrace complexity, strive to be a learning organization, and believe deeply that a hopeful, abundant, equitable future in which we all thrive together is more than a starry-eyed vision—it is an expectation that can and must be achieved by working together. We know there are bright spots across the country where shared stewardship is taking hold and communities are fostering belonging and building civic muscle—an antidote to our fractured times. Every day, people are stepping forward, demonstrating care for one another, and engaging in productive dialogue that respects and builds on our differences to design a future worthy of generations to come. These are the courageous acts we need to make visible, learn from, and replicate.
We have an exciting year ahead at Rippel. I invite you to join us as we commit to our next decade of catalytic change by focusing on four strategic aims that will advance the wider movement to thrive together:
- fostering a new narrative of hope and abundance;
- bridging differences in order to design new approaches toward a more equitable and thriving future;
- facilitating commitments from leaders to align investments to the vital conditions for well-being; and
- building our shared ability to measure progress on the rise in stewardship and presence of the vital conditions.
It feels like a tremendous gift to wake up every day and work with dedicated stewards across so many communities and organizations that are committed to a better future. We are eager to partner with individuals and institutions to learn, grow, commit to action, and co-invest in achieving these aims. We don’t have all the answers, but we thrive on the promise of collectively moving toward our north star with each and every one of you.
My warmest wishes for a year ahead that builds toward a future of renewal and hope for us all.