Warm Wishes for the Holidays

As we bring closure to 2022, I am reflecting on how inspired I am by the power and purpose of this community. Together we are movers, shakers, and (systems) change-makers. As donor-activists who commit to an equity and justice lens, we are in a constant state of meeting the moment, while proactively investing in the future and doing the interpersonal work to calibrate the role we play along the way. It is this particularly hard, thoughtful, and necessary work that makes me incredibly proud of the approach we take at WDN and WDN Action.

I recently marked my 100th day as your new President & CEO, and so much has happened in such little time. It’s been a tremendous whirlwind of transition, celebration, meeting members across the country, studying WDN behind the scenes, experiencing a joy-filled conference, and of course, deep listening and future planning. I continue to be honored and humbled to serve this incredible network. 

As we embark on a strategic planning year, I know we have deep work ahead of us, but I have never been more convinced that WDN and WDN Action were built for this moment. 

As we prepare to dive in, I invite you to pause with me to reflect on what a tremendous position we are in today: 

  • This year alone, our collective giving catalyzed over $20 million in grants to 151 organizations through WDN and WDN Action;
  • Our boards are dynamic, thoughtfully  composed, and committed as ever;
  • Our members are full of passion, depth of experience, and are eager to engage;
  • Our dear staff – the glue that holds it all together – centers our values in everything we do;
  • Our grantees are doing the most difficult and incredible work to change the status quo away from one that benefits some to one that will benefit all.

Because of this, I couldn’t be more ready and excited to both innovate and elevate our work ahead. Thank you for your ongoing support and your trust in me as we enter this new year and era together. 

While the holidays can bring on mixed feelings and experiences (especially for those who are grappling with loss, change, and transitions), I hope this holiday season is still filled with all the things that bring you joy. For me, it’s going to be time with my children, parents, and siblings on our first family trip since the pandemic! I’d love to hear how each of you are spending your time as we close out the year and wish you plenty of rest, reflection, good food, and new memories! 

Enjoy and see you in the new year,

Leena Barakat

President & CEO

WDN and WDN Action

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