Fiscal Year 2022/2023 Impact Report Narrative
This has been a year of creativity, hard work and learning for the WTR Network team, from deepening our study and application of co-liberatory practices to expanding our committees and volunteer support, improving our offerings, laboring through the redesign of the website and getting the ball rolling for the inaugural Gaian Gathering.
The energy of global co-creation and dynamic web-weaving has been strong this year! As we come together, more and more, in community across difference and distance, it is exciting to see what we can do and learn together.
Our Growing Team
During this year we welcomed Mutima Imani onto the Weavers team and Shayontoni Ghosh onto the staff. Our committees have also grown as we welcomed several new volunteers and deepened the work being done in each committee.
With the growing volunteer support we’ve been able to greatly improve our offerings and systems. The Communications committee has created a gorgeously fresh look on our Instagram and Facebook pages, sharing facilitator events more effectively and delivering high quality content through both the social media platforms and the monthly newsletter. The Facilitator Support committee is now providing regular bimonthly newsletters, written specifically for Facilitator Members with insights and resources to support their work. They also began hosting cafes for Facilitator Members and developing a mentoring program to support emerging facilitators in the coming years. The Social Justice committee is laying the groundwork for global outreach with the intent to establish a Global Social Justice advisory council. The Deep Times Journal published two beautiful issues and the Webinar & Conversation Cafe program continued to deliver high quality online events throughout the year.
Gratitude for the Generosity that Supports Our Work
We started out this fiscal year with generous grant support from the BESS Family Foundation and the Fire Monkey Fund Grant. We also received generous support through our annual Giving Tuesday and End of Year campaigns. The Sitka Fund provided the matching funds for our Giving Tuesday campaign and a generous donation to support the Gaian Gathering, which together with donations from Polly Howell and Christopher Hormel, made it possible to launch into planning this exciting event.
Additionally, the collective support streaming in from around the world through monthly and annual Community Member donations, Facilitator Member fees and donations made through the Webinar & Conversation Cafe program have continued to increase as our community connections grow. This financial support has allowed our team to dedicate our energy to the following projects and aspects of growth throughout this fiscal year.
Major Website Revision
Our main priority and focus during the 2022/23 fiscal year was the creation of our new website. As an organization that exists to provide support, connection and inspiration to a global community, our website is much more than just a website. It is the place where we welcome our community, the vehicle through which we foster connection, the fulcrum for our active hope and the repository of the vast collection of resources, tools and inspirational materials that uplifts our community. As such, this project has been a major endeavor that has tapped into all aspects of our organization, as we refine and deepen the realization of our mission. Its completion promises to unlock exciting new potential for support, connection and inspiration that we will be able to continue to develop over the next several years.
It has been a labor of love and a major challenge, as the launch date was delayed repeatedly throughout the year while our current website was experiencing significant technical issues for which we had no support. We hope the website will successfully launch early in the 2023/24 fiscal year so it can serve our community as soon as possible.
The vision of the Gaian Gathering that was brewing last year is coming into fruition quite beautifully. We established a committee to oversee the development of this project in January 2023 and have developed a preliminary plan. We also secured $35k in additional funding earmarked specifically for this project from three individuals to allow us to hire a dedicated coordinator and fund the technology necessary for a successful large-scale global online conference.
We posted the coordinator position in February and received resumes from almost thirty high quality candidates from around the world. We hired Shala Massey as the Gaian Gathering coordinator in May and welcomed almost 20 new volunteers to join in on this exciting endeavor. We have begun the process of planning and organizing for the gathering, which is slated for November 2023.
Supporting our Community and Weaving Connections Across the Great Turning
In addition to the general support, inspiration and connection that the new website and the Gaian Gathering will provide, we are working on specific projects to support our Facilitator Members and emerging facilitators and to foster connections with individuals and organizations working across the full spectrum of the Great Turning.
With the launch of the website and the highly interactive online Community Forum, we will be introducing a new mentorship program for facilitators to support each other in specific areas of growth and for experienced facilitators to support emerging facilitators. We continue to listen to our community and design educational and supportive programs for them. One example of this, delivered between June and August of 2023, is a three-part interactive webinar series led by one of our Weavers and experienced WTR facilitator, Kathleen Rude. It will instruct facilitators and emerging facilitators on conducting effective and high quality rituals by engaging them in three specific WTR rituals and then reflecting on the facilitation of these rituals to understand the key elements and deepen the facilitation skills necessary to carry them out.
Another way that we are weaving connections across the Great Turning is by allying with other organizations who are in service to the Great Turning in diverse and complementary ways. In the spirit of mutual support and strengthening resilience, we are reaching out to organizations to create formal partnerships that bring greater support to our mutual and overlapping communities. There will be a place on our website to highlight our partner organizations and their work.
Collaborate to Co-liberate – Team Development and Organizational Design
In concert with the external focus of serving our community, we are also working deeply and intentionally on continuing to build our capacity as a team and an organization. We recognize that the way we do anything is the way we do everything and that, as a highly visible organization in service to the Great Turning, it is essential that we practice Great Turning values in everything we do, from decision making and workflow, to volunteer management and tending to our finances.
Fortunately, we have had the great honor and privilege of participating in the Collaborate to Co-liberate program being offered by the Nonprofit Democracy Network and the Sustainable Economies Law Center. We invested $3,600 for six of our team members to participate in this year-long program, along with significant time, energy and focus. We have learned a tremendous amount, improved our internal systems and relationships and made meaningful connections with many other nonprofits who are committed to co-liberation. Being part of this educational experience gave us a sense that we have a much greater network of support and it has helped us strategize more effectively for our next steps.
We intend to secure and direct an additional $15,000 in the 2023-24 fiscal year toward consultants and staff time to help us deepen our diversity, equity and inclusion practices and improve our systems for conflict transformation, organizational design, team management and leadership development.